Thursday, April 9, 2015

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2015)


Written & Directed By: Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement 
Cinematography By: Richard Bluck & D.J. Stipsen 
Editor: Tom Eagles, Yana Gorskaya & Jonathan Woodford-Robinson 


Cast: Taika Waititi, Jonatham Brugh, Jemaine Clement, Rhys Darby, Cori Gonzalez-Maucer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Jackie Van Beek

Follow the lives of Viago, Deacon, and Vladislav - three flatmates who are just trying to get by and overcome life's obstacles-like being immortal vampires who must feast on human blood. Hundreds of years old, the vampires are finding that beyond sunlight catastrophes, hitting the main artery, and not being able to get a sense of their wardrobe without a reflection-modern society has them struggling with the mundane like paying rent, keeping up with the chore wheel, trying to get into nightclubs, and overcoming flatmate conflicts.

The film reminds me original and challenging, yet particularly thought provoking satire of the 1970's that never loses it's macabre atmosphere and material. Each main character represents a different time period in vampire lore. It's a pitch black dark comedy that is best to go into knowing very little as the surprises are the most rewarding parts of the film. I will try not to spoil or reveal too much.

More than 120 hours of footage was shot, most of which were improvisation from the leads.

The directors were able to bring screenings of the film to the United States after a successful Kickstarter fund-raising campaign.

If you are a fan of FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS type of comedy, dry this film has 'CONCHORDS Jemaine Clement really showcasing his comedic talent in Many different comedic roles under the direction of himself here, but also usually in the films directed by his co-director and co-writer Taika Waititi

Here clement is memorable and hilarious throughout not quite the scene stealer as he is evenly matched by his funny co-stars. With all the accents in display particularly his it reminded me a little of the skit/song PETROV forum the Conchords album.

This is another victory for actor-director Taika Waititi as this film is in a different tone from the more serious coming of age film BOY. Here co-writing and co-directing as well as co-starring this film. Which is even more an out and out comedy then their previous collaboration EAGLE VS. SHARK. With tons of more memorable scenes, lines and characters.

I admire Taika Waititi as a director and actor. Here though appearing in the film. He is more part of an ensemble. A character who is not the main lead or even the coolest, nor giving himself the best lines. If anything this film works best as a group effort. Each member contributes to what makes the film so exceptional.

The characters are never as cool as they believe they are in their own minds. They are rather more embarrassing especially to themselves as it isn't totally their fault. They are older and trying to figure out modern things. As they still can't hide their old attributes or at least refuse to change themselves despite the advancements.

The special effects of the film are minimal though impressive. They feel more classic then digital. Luckily this isn't a film that loves or does by it’s effects.

At first the jokes are obvious, but as the film goes along. They're inspired and obvious yet work more subtlety.

Though the film ends up being more episodic. Then a follow through storyline. Though it allows for the film to have more surprises along the way. More than expected that shows ingenuity on display.

The directing style might remind the audience of found footage films. The shakes cam is more assured; though it is filmed as a documentary and feels more full and Assured, covered as far as actions and shots. I enjoyed that everything in this film is here for a reason. Sometimes explained, sometimes come back to it that perfectly sets up a joke or set piece later.

It covers itself with issues like social of sorts. That seems to be still believed and handed out by one classic and old school character.

The film manages to get all of the aspects just right. I can't recommend this film highly enough. As it is so off-center. You wonder why no one thought of it before while also asking, where did that idea come from? Even so they all work.

The interaction the characters have with the werewolves (scene stealers and a part reunion for FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORD fans. Wouldn't be surprised if a sequel revolving around them was made) zombies, creatures as well as being introduced to other vampires around town. Is hilarious and genius. To open up this whole world but do it minimally.

I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. At this point one of the best if not my favorite film of the year.

GRADE: A

No comments: