Jemaine Clement of my beloved "Flight of the Conchords" as a vampire: what took me so long to find this movie??
If it isn’t clear by now, I like speculative fiction. I’m not against full-on sci-fi, but I prefer the lighter, speculative side: what if our world was just like it is now, only with magic? No jet packs, no laser beams; just a little magic on the side. Vampire narratives fit into that genre perfectly. It’s the world as we know it, but with some added hazard and mystery to keep us up at night.
"What We Do In the Shadows" is a combination of mockumentary and reality show. A group of vampires share a house in New Zealand and deal with the trials and tribulations of being roommates (whose turn is it to wash the bloody dishes?), existing as ancient beings in a modern world (does my 100-year old outfit look cool?), and dealing with other supernatural species (damn werewolves!). There’s an intriguing mix of darkness and light, creep and humor that’s skillfully combined here. And, just as with "The Magicians" (see my thoughts on that series, here), the movie is fun.
My geeking out process: I was already a fan of Jemaine Clement, who stars in and co-created the movie. I had heard about the movie’s other co-creator, Taika Waititi, but hadn’t had a chance to watch his other movies, so I dove into those. ("JoJo Rabbit," which came out in early 2020, was fantastic). I also started watching the TV adaptation of the movie, which airs on FX and is available on Hulu. I was skeptical, but I really like what they’ve done: different characters, but same premise—vampires living together and trying to keep their cover (and cool) in modern times. Add to that an episode made for vampire genre enthusiasts, starring actors who have played vampires throughout movie and TV history: Wesley Snipes from "Blade," Paul Reubens from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and Evan Rachel Wood from "True Blood," among others. (season 1, episode 7).
The movie is available for rent through Amazon Prime. The TV adaptation is on FX and is also streaming on Hulu.