Spooktober: What We Do in the Shadows

Hello and welcome to the very first Spooktober on The Reviews of Cinema website! Ignore the fact that I forgot to do this last October and let’s focus on the upcoming movies I get to binge and you get to read about.

I wanted to start the month with a favourite of mine, in fact, I’ve been meaning to write a review for it and I thought what better time than when the ghouls and witches are out and about.

What We Do in The Shadows has to be hands down the best mockumentary out there, only possibly with Borat coming a close second. There isn’t any other show or movie I’ve seen that has been able to pull off the style without some fault.

When mockumentaries come to mind you perhaps think of shows like The Office or Parks and Recreation. However, both shows had a horrendous first season compared to the Shadows’ franchise who have done nothing but stride ahead on untainted ground.

Originally created by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement back in 2005, the film was ‘rebooted’ in a sense. Given a new lick of paint and better quality cameras and in 2014 you get the film you see before you today.

From the very moment the movie starts you immediately understand the tone and atmosphere for the ‘documentary’. We’re introduced to our main three vampires, each having a different personality that although clash in-universe make for great relationship dynamics.

Viago, Deacon and Vladislav are extremely likeable characters. You’re not quite sure why at first, perhaps it’s the misleading friendly nature or the fact that you just see them do everyday things.

And that leads me onto why I think the movie, and subsequently the series, hits so well. It’s just watching unordinary people doing ordinary tasks, and I can’t help but find something almost comical about it. Why wouldn’t a vampire vacuum the walls if he could fly?

But this isn’t the only reason why the movie hits comedy gold, the dialogue and phrasing the characters spout out throughout the movie are effortless and just so great. Some personal favourites are: “I think of it like this. If you're going to eat a sandwich, you would just enjoy it more if you knew no one had fucked it.” and “Hey hey hey. Don't swear. We're werewolves, not Swear-Wolves.”

However, it’s not all comedy, there is a genuine story that plays out. There’s a feud between vampires and werewolves, a war between tradition and embracing the new, a tale of jealousy and overcoming your flaws. And it all wraps up into a neat little bow by the time the movie ends.

Besides praising many things about this movie already, another I have to talk about is the costuming and the backgrounds. Everything feels so deliberate and precise, all the way down to the lamps and tea cups.

Everything has its own little place and fits so well into the overall theme of gothic, historic, vampires looking for a little fun.

Not only does the movie elevate general vampire stereotypes like burning in the sunlight and fearing anything related to the Jebus man. The movie comically counters some stereotypes too, not all vampires are moody and live in big, dark castles; a lot are but some do like to like in flats in New Zealand and go to nightclubs.

Overall, What We Do in The Shadows is a great movie. It’s full of comedy, slight action and some amazing characters. The film does a good job in introducing the world and the rules, and the series is a great way to continue the story with new characters and a new setting.

What We Do in The Shadows gets 5 out of 5 stakes to the heart from me.

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