Ewan Gleadow

Review: What We Do in the Shadows 5th Anniversary

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Unison Films

“You will forget the contents of this movie.” Is the line that What We Do in the Shadows ends on, a neat fourth wall break to tie up a movie that becomes more of a risky irony when I realise, I don’t remember all that much from this movie. It’s good, but truly forgettable. A dark, mockumentary from the mind of Taiki Waititi should seem relatively interesting, and it is. But it has more than a handful of problems that stop it from coming anywhere near the heights of what it should’ve been. 

A handful of lines throughout the film are really great. Some real knock out stuff is hidden away behind Stu (Stuart Rutherford) and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement). It’s nice to see Clement in a somewhat leading role, after his bit part in The Festival and villainous portrayal of Boris in Men in Black 3 sitting rather well with me. Clement does well with the role of Vladislav, a vampire that believes he exudes sexual charm. A fair few of the jokes focus on that, with a definite mixture of positive and negative results. 

Like any comedy though, there’ll always be a few jokes that stand out among the rest. By far the best bit for me was the semi-montage, semi-interview style of introducing the vampires to technology. Everything is very deadpan and nobody sells this better than Stu, a human the vampires promise each other not to eat. Stu’s out of place feeling throughout the movie is exactly how I felt watching What We Do in the Shadows, I hadn’t a clue what was going on but was happy enough to stick around until the end was in sight.  

What We Do in the Shadows manages to tickle the funny bone every now and then but it has a fair share of misses to it too. Waititi and Clement are the highlighting cast members and their direction works in their favour, but to ask them to provide something truly marvellous would be pushing the boundaries a bit. A handful of great moments spread evenly throughout some middling plot points and a couple of semi-interesting characters.