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Funny Fanged Folk

Vampires meet their mockumentary moment in What We Do in the Shadows

Vampires: They’re just like us! They have terrible housemates who don’t do the dishes. They worry about looking good when they go out at night, even if the clubs they’re going to are dead and boring. They get twitchy when the cops come by. And they hate it when their roommates bring home uncool new friends.

Of course, their dishes are solely used for blood, they worry about what they look like because they can’t see themselves in mirrors and they might be trying to hide dead bodies by hypnotizing the cops. Worst of all, the annoying new friend might be immortal.

What We Do in the Shadows is co-written and directed by Flight of the Conchords’ Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, who directed Clement in 2007’s Eagle vs. Shark. This will tell some people everything they need to know about Shadows, which is as deadpan and mundane a vampire mockumentary set in New Zealand as you could ever hope to see. 

Waititi plays Viago, whose ingratiating, eager smile rarely falters; Clement is Vladislav, who looks like an extra-hirsute Nick Cave. Rounding out the household is Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), who strings along a human familiar, Jackie (Jackie van Beek), and Petyr (Ben Fransham), whose Cthulhu-like teeth render him pretty much mute. It’s Petyr who transforms an intended snack named Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) into a vampire for apparently no reason. 

Shadows has a drawn-out sketch feel that renders it more The Real World: Vampires! than This is Spinal Tap, but pop-culture vampires were more than due for a send-up. “I’m Twilight!” insists Nick, who likes to blab to everyone about his newfound taste for blood. And the leader of a low-key gang of werewolves yells at his pack to wear tracksuits when they’re going to change, so they don’t bust out of their jeans. Being a vampire is just another way of walking the world, folks. You just get to do it for a lot longer. Those blood dishes really pile up. (Bijou Metro)