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WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

SYNOPSIS:
Follow the lives of Viago (Taika Waititi), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), and Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) - 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.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The freewheeling madness of some emerging New Zealand filmmakers is a tradition stretching back to early Peter Jackson and his weekend-made horror movies (more like black slasher comedies), notably Bad Taste (1987) and Brain Dead (aka Dead Alive, 1992), both classics now.

Those were low budget, high voltage horror films that took excess to excess as their mantra. The crucial conceit in this film is to have extreme characters in banal, suburban settings; so vampires do the shopping, kind of thing. Played straight, the effect is enhanced by the inherent contradictions thus offered, and the total commitment to the work by the entire cast.

Filled with throw away humour and occasional LOL moments of the ghoulish kind, the film's technical achievements help audiences take it seriously while at the same time laughing along with the comedic ideas.

The only flaw really is that the film is ultimately weighed down by its own novelty value and constraints of the genre; I would have expected an even more audacious development and a full-on surreal play-off. But it's still fun-with-fangs.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (M)
(NZ, 2014)

CAST: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzales-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Frensham, Jackie van Beek, Elena Stejko, Jason Hoyte

PRODUCER: Taika Waititi, Emanuel Michael, Chelsea Winstanley

DIRECTOR: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi,

SCRIPT: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi,

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Richard Bluck, D. J. Stipsen

EDITOR: Tom Eagles, Yana Gorskaya, Jonathan Woodfor-Robinson

MUSIC: Plan 9

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ra Vincent

RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Madman

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 4, 2014







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