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Arts & Culture

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

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

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

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

ANCHOR INTRO: If the dry absurd humor of the HBO show Flight of the Conchords is to your taste then KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando says you’ll love the bloodsuckers of What We Do in The Shadows. Love sucks when you’re a vampire. CLIP 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. What We Do in the Shadows serves up a mockumentary about the trials and tribulations of being a vampire in the modern world: Everything from consuming your beloved to how to dress when you have no reflection to dealing with pesky werewolves. CLIP Watch out, don’t catch fleas… historically vampires and werewolves have always been rivals… they show up with their mates pissing all over the plant… awful wet fur smell… panting… I’m not racist, I just don’t like werewolves. "Flight of the Conchords” creator Jemaine Clement, and Taika Waititi 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 one of the best vampire films ever. They reveal more respect for and knowledge of vampire lore than most serious horror films, and that only makes the 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. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

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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