What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

A New Zealand mockumentary about four vampires sharing a flat. Taika Waititi plays Viago, a German vampire who was sent to New Zealand by his servant to meet his lost love. Due to an incorrect postage stamp his journey took longer than imagined and when he arrived his former love was already married. His flatmates are Deacon, Vladislav, and Petyr, an ancient vampire based on the old Nosferatu image. Viago treats us to a look at their world, including gathering victims to feast on, their attempts to get into nightclubs (difficult without an invitation), and a little of their history. There are a couple of plot threads, with a new vampire joining their groups, an ancient grudge, and their ongoing rivalry with the local werewolves. However, this film is a comedy that is all about the jokes. From the first moments there are hilarious one-liners, references to vampire lore, slapstick or more offbeat awkward comedy. Some of the humour is understandably dark given the subject matter, but always lightened by Viago's highly charismatic guidebook commentary to events.

Written by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement the film shows a great affection for vampire and old horror films, playing on many of the legends associated with them. It seems that they excavated almost every tenet of vampire lore to exploit it for laughs. The direction, disguised as the documentary that is being made about the vampires, is great and often used expertly to emphasize a gag. One standout scene in particular features a chase through the house, something that would not have been out of place in a horror film had we not already been introduced to the rather pleasant vampires involved. There are a couple of great special effects moments, such as when they turn into bats, or float about the house.

A hilarious comedy film that manages easily to sustain its conceit throughout finding the undead an endless source of jokes.