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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    No Cullens in new vampire mockumentary


    Unison Films

    Vampires are now the reanimated byproducts of Hollywood franchises. Through rudimentary understanding of contemporary horror lore, the average moviegoer is bound to construct a clichéd sensibility of what these bloodsuckers represent: carousing, cape-wearing, neck-biting, sparkling, eternal creatures of the night.

    The reality, however, is that the contemporary world is not always hospitable to the supernatural. At the end of the day, being a vampire bites.

    In new film “What We Do in the Shadows,” the life of a vampire is portrayed as less than glamorous. Following four vampires as they prepare for the annual Unholy Masquerade, “What We Do in the Shadows” chronicles the unlikely, undead housemates as they grapple with the mundane, such as doing dishes and paying rent. From squabbling over fashion trends and household chores to antagonizing local werewolves and dealing with strict diets, this foursome reveals the inner workings of a nefarious vampire den.

    It stars New Zealand comedians Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, who you may recognize from such ventures as “Flight of the Conchords” and “Eagle vs Shark”; “What We Do in the Shadows” delivers a film about the unspoken struggles associated with vampiredom. The film marries the fantastical with the commonplace and capitalizes on the tropes of the genre.

    “It’s a mockumentary about a family of vampires sharing a house,” said Jeff Yanc, program director at The Loft Cinema. “A film crew follows each member of the household and documents all the vampire antics they get themselves into. They play out the reality show concept well. It feels almost real when you’re watching the film.  … It’s the kind of comedic horror the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise tried to be.”

    This film bites into the same vein as “This is Spinal Tap” and works to create a vampire mansion-esque, “Real World” spoof.

    According to Clement in an interview with “NPR Morning Edition,” “What We Do in the Shadows” strives to document the “centuries-long struggles” of being a vampire to produce “a mockumentary about something you couldn’t document.”

    Attributed with a sharp sense of quintessentially dry New Zealand humor, “What We Do in the Shadows” details the humdrum routine of being undead.

    “It pokes fun at a lot of clichés,” Yanc said. “As I was watching it, I couldn’t help but think that it’ll be hard to go back and watch any other vampire films, because it makes so much fun of them.”

    The film gained plenty of momentum in the festival circuit and premiered February in box offices across the country. Following media hype, The Guardian, Indiewire and Vanity Fair credit this film as “laugh-out-loud funny” and a “fresh perspective” on the movie industry’s vampire formula, to make for bloody good fun.

    “A lot of times, especially with comedies, they use all the best scenes in the trailer to attract audiences,” Yanc said. “That’s not true here; this movie is funny throughout. ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ has high Internet visibility, stellar reviews and growing word of mouth. Viewers seem really excited we’re showing it.”

    At The Loft, the film initially opened for its preview screening at 10 p.m. Thursday. The Loft begins general admission showings at 3 p.m. on Friday.

    “It’s utterly ridiculous, which is, of course, part [of] the allure,” Yanc said. “The movie is sure to attract the college crowd, horror fans, comedy fans and ‘Flight of the Conchords’ fans. … You should expect to have a genuinely good time watching this movie.”


    Follow Elise McClain on Twitter.

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