Thursday, November 13, 2014

AFI Fest 2014 What We Do In The Shadows Review: Voracious

As the New Zealand Film Board logo comes up and in that moment we know we were in for a ghoulish treat. Just missing the Halloween season for it's LA Premiere is What We Do in the Shadows.

Who knew what was stalking you at night could be so funny? A few vampire roommates and how they spend their nights in New Zeland delights in this mokumentary from a tiny island nation that people mistake as being part of Australia. What's no mistake is the genuine comedic nature from the starring vampires, sparsed with some great special effects. Starring Jemaine Clement as the 862-year-old Vladislav, the poker and Taika Waititi as Viago the 379-year-ol' dandy vampire and Jonathan Brugh as Deacon the 183-year-old vampire.

Jemaine and Taika introduced themselves at the AFI Premiere as the bad guy from Alien 3 and Green Lantern's best friend. They wrote and directed the film and that night at the late late Q & A told about the hardships capturing the footage of vampires and why they looked so much like the vampires in the movie.

What can we say about the film other than it's "Voracious"? We could say it's a great comedy in the vein of being both a little horror and a documentary. Centering on some vampire roommates and the build-up to a ball held once a year, we look into their un-lifes. We see them get use to more modern ideas by a recently turned newbie vampire played by Cori Gonzalez-Macuer as Nick. With Nick comes his friend Stu, who at first all the vampires want to eat, but just can't, because he's just to helpful.

Each of the vampires of the group has their own set style and we see how that affects their interactions trying to get victims and with each other. Vladisla vis like a haunting young Dracula figure whose lost some of his mojo from his run-in with "The Beast". Viago is a dany vampire, so everything must be tidy and be done in a certain way, he's the group somewhat de-facto leader. He's so dandy he tells the other vampires to put down newspapers and towels when killing someone in their shared house. Deacon is a dirty, younger vampire learning his way. He use to be a simple villager and hasn't changed much, he's an idiot. There's also a vampire much like Nosferatu, Petyr played by Ben Fransham, this 8,000-year-old doesn't talk much.

Nick is changed by Petyr, much to the chagrin of the other vampires at first. Nick and Stu update the lives of the other vampires first meeting with a lot of success. Mirrors don't work, why not use a camera to see what you look like? Some failures regretting in death occur thanks to Nick's newbie nature. This is satirically done the whole time as they all act like childish roommates over simple issues like washing the dishes. The special effects don't factor into the wonderful job the vampire cast adds with their ridiculous jokes and stories of what it means to be a vampire.

Special effects with fights on ceilings and walls, to transformations, to simple loads of blood being sprayed out add to the horror genre. The special effects only add to jokes by making you remember they aren't just dressed like male hookers, they're vampires and they do wield powers.

Don't lose the night! Watch this horror comedy that should have tried to make it to VOD and download before Halloween. Taika Waititi as Viago is at the heart of the film for his love lorn nature and need to be clean when he hungers for blood.

What We Do in the Shadows come out in theaters this February.

 Taika and Jemaine