Macabre…ish Horror Review: What We Do In The Shadows



What We Do in the Shadows, 2015/ 85 min



In Wellington, NZ in the suburb of Te Aro, Vampire housemates, Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Petyr have a documentary film crew follow them.


Petyr (Ben Fransham) is an 800 year curmudgeon with Nosferatu looks. He’s the standoffish introvert who wants to be left alone.


Deacon (Jonny Brugh) is the youngest, 183 years old and the rebel of the group. He was turned by a vampire who lived in a castle and turned into a bat. It was Petyr! And they’ve been friends ever since. Deacon was also Nazi and when the war was over, he fled to NZ.


Vladislav (Jermaine Clement) is 862 year old vampire, who was turned at 16 and from the medieval times. Some of his ways are archaic, he’s a kind of a pervert. He has a retired torture chamber, he used it to cope with the blues.


Viago (Taika Waititi) is a particular, neat and tidy vampire. He likes rules and structure and he’s a bit of a nag. He was once an 18th century dandy and he likes the finer things. Viago went to NZ for love, he fell hard for a human girl. Due to the wrong postage, his coffin arrived a year and a half too late. She was already married when he arrived.


They rise dark and late, every evening at 10 pm. They can’t see their reflections but they adapted to drawing pictures of each other while getting dressed for their outings.


When out, they must be invited into any building or they cannot enter. In NZ there live about 60 or 70 vampires and a few of them own and operate clubs.


Deacon has a human woman, Jackie (Jackie Van Beek), as a servant and whatever he needs, she gets it done. She does this in return for eternal life. She’s worked for him for almost 5 years and she’s desperate to be turned before she gets much older.


When the mates hunt, they have different styles. Viago treats it like a date.  Vladislav uses hypnosis, he used to hypnotize crowds of people, orgies full. But after a humiliating defeat against The Beast aka Pauline (Elena Stejko) he more or less lost the ability to do it. Jackie also rounds up groups for them.


Sometimes they turn their victims into vampires, mostly not though. They fly and shape shift and are overall strange and funny characters. Oh and there are also werewolves, led by Anton (Rhys Darby) that they have a high school level rivalry.


Petyr made a mistake turning one of his meals, Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), into a vampire but they love his human best friend, Stu (Stuart Rutherford). Also Nick’s transformation just pushed Jackie’s back, a decade, so she’s told and she’s pissed.


Oh and there’s a Witch’s Ball where all monsters are invited, including zombies. If humans are there, it’s usually as a meal but the guys bring Stu as a plus one, the party becomes interesting once they realize he’s alive.


The documentarist also covers how they handle the cops and what happens during the full moon with their wolf rivals. It’s bad for everyone.




This comedy horror mockumentary is directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. It’s a documentary style vampire comedy and it’s good! Good pacing, cast and story. Solid and funny effects. It is bloody and sometimes gross. This is very well done, I was hooked until the end. This movie has spun off a New Zealand based paranormal series Wellington Paranormal. And an American version series also called What We Do In The Shadows. There was supposed to be a sequel to this movie that focused on the werewolves called We’re Wolves but that may have been shelved indefinitely.