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What We Do In The Shadows’ Sheds Light On Modern Vampire Life

Creators of ‘Flight of the Conchords’ sink their teeth into a mockumentary on bloodsuckers

Taika Waititi stars as Viago, one of the vampire subjects of the mockumentary...

Credit: Paladin Pictures

Above: Taika Waititi stars as Viago, one of the vampire subjects of the mockumentary, "What We Do in the Shadows."

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando review the mockumentary, "What We Do in the Shadows."


Companion Viewing

"This is Spinal Tap" (1984, the grandaddy of all mockumentaries)

"Shadow of the Vampire" (2000)

"Flight of the Conchords" (HBO series, 2007)

"Eagle Vs. Shark" (2007)

If the dry absurd humor of the HBO show "Flight of the Conchords" is to your taste then sink your teeth into "What We Do In The Shadows" (opening Friday at Landmark's Hillcrest Cinemas) for a tasty new treat.

Love sucks when you’re a vampire.

"I wrote that song for a lovely lady I was once in love with but it wasn’t meant to be because I ate her," Viago laments during an intimate moment in "What We Do in the Shadows."

The New Zealand film serves up a mockumentary about the trials and tribulations of being a vampire in the modern world. It deals with everything from consuming your beloved to how to dress when you have no reflection to dealing with pesky werewolves.

When Viago (Taika Waititi) crosses paths with a pack of werewolves out on the town, he warns, "Watch out, don’t catch fleas."

And Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) explains, "historically vampires and werewolves have always been rivals. I’m not racist, I just don’t like werewolves."

Taika Waititi and "Flight of the Conchords” creator Jemaine Clement rescue vampires from the fading clutches of "Twilight" and reanimate them with wicked humor. The filmmakers focus on the mundane rather than the fantastical aspects of being a vampire to deliver not just one of the funniest films in years but also one of the best vampire films ever. They reveal more respect for and knowledge of vampire lore than most serious horror films do, and that only makes their film more delightfully satisfying.

The filmmakers also play two of a quartet of endearing but tragically unhip vampires coping with Internet dating and roommates who don’t do their chores for centuries. It’s all explored with the same deadpan irony that made "Flight of the Conchords" a cult hit. So put away the garlic and the crucifixes and invite these bloodsuckers in.

"What We Do in the Shadows" is unrated.


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Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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