“What We Do in the Shadows” is a hilarious mockumentary that follows a group of vampire flatmates as they deal with relationships, rivalries and, of course, finding humans to violently devour.
Like many of the best mockumentaries, “What We Do” has an easygoing pace that fits the day-to-day nature of the events it depicts.
Though there are a few overarching plotlines, the movie has a very episodic feel as it portrays the vampires out on the Wellington strip trying to pick out victims or back at home vacuuming the stairs by hovering midair beside the steps.
The acting staff is charming, especially in the case of Jemaine Clement and his fellow “Flight of the Conchords” alums. Taika Waititi plays up the sweetness of young vampire Vlago just enough to make him a sympathetic protagonist but not overbearingly so. Meanwhile, Rhys Darby shines as a local werewolf that sounds a little more like a rehabilitation worker than a monster, finding a satisfying middle ground between absurdity and dryness in his delivery.
In the end, it’s not the individual elements of “What We Do” that makes it good so much as the pitch-perfect delivery throughout. In one of my favorite moments, the vampires are chasing a victim through the labyrinthine corridors of their “flat.” A shaking camera follows the victim as he runs down hallway after hallway only to find the vampires around every corner.
It’s a very common scene, yet the movie uses little details like the overly delighted poses the vampires strike as they turn a corner to firmly cross the line from action into slapstick. The result is satisfying, if not terribly clever.
If you are expecting a tightly woven storyline and biting satire, you’ll be disappointed by “What We Do.” But then again, who could be unhappy with some good old sketch comedy when it’s this funny?