Monday, May 1, 2017

Who Knows What Evil?

We watched What We Do in the Shadows (2015) in part to prep for Thor: Ragnarok, to be directed by Taika Waititi (who directed What We Do...). Also, it looked like fun - a documentary about four New Zealand flatmates who happen to be vampires.

Waititi himself is sort of the lead character. He's a dandy, a bit fussy, about 300 years old. Jonny Brugh's is a sexy vampire - at least he thinks so. Jermaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) is the bad-boy leather jacket type of vampire. Brugh and Clement don't do chores, which leads to some friction in the flat. There's one more (Ben Fransham), but he is a Nosferatu - just growls and drinks blood. They don't even try to get him to do chores. He's a thousand years old anyway.

This sort of starts out kind of predictable - flatmates can't get along AND they're vampires! Also, vampires are supposed to be scary, but these guys are kind of pathetic. There's an extended scene about their clubbing activities. They dress up in their vampire finery and look kind of goofy. They go to the hot clubs, but can't go in because the bouncers won't invite them. Their usual hangout is a sad empty dump, where they dance listlessly. It's well done, so we didn't mind that it was a little predictable.

There's a recurring motif of the vampires knitting or playing music together. Like in The Hunger, but instead of lovely chamber music, it's bloody awful trumpet and balalaika.

But it gets better. First, they run into trouble with their Renfield, Jackie van Beek, who they need to scrub the blood off the floors. Then, they accidentally turn a civilian (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) into a vampire, and he's just a little too into it. He also has a mate, Stu (Stu Rutherford), who is not a vampire, and they all agree not to eat him, even though he has a very ruddy complexion and is probably full of delicious blood.

Stu is an ordinary boring bloke who works as a computer consultant. He's kind of shy and quiet, and I think this is because he is played by an actual computer consultant. He showed up thinking he was going to work on the computers and they put him in the film.

This is a very improvised movie, and it kind of shows. But it also has an arc, stuff happens that has consequences and isn't just erased for the next joke. But also, plenty of jokes - there seems to be a particular type of New Zealander humor about the low standards you have to put up with in a small isolated country. But what do I know? I've never been. Too many vampires, I hear.

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