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The Chive


   The funniest, nastiest movie reviews anywhere.

What We Do in the Shadows

Just how prom-night-virgin desperate are people for a quality movie?  Check out the knob-slobbering audiences and critics alike are giving to What We Do in the Shadows.  This mockumentary about four vampire roommates in modern day New Zealand sucks balls way more than necks, yet it's sitting at a baffling 96% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes because it's not a complete fucktastrophe.

I guess if you lower your expectations far enough, Fancy Feast becomes filet mignon. 

Many of the shit-brained critics lavishing praise on this mediocre-at-best Saturday Night Live sketch stretched into an agonizingly thin feature length film are likening it to the classic mock-rockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap.  To each and every one of them I say, "Go die."

What We Do in the Shadows and This is Spinal Tap are both faux-documentaries.  They both utilize actors and sets and costumes.  They both take place on Earth.  Beyond that, they have about as much in common as the Pope and a Sybian. 

Where Spinal Tap features talented actors, lampoons humorous rock star cliches and remains both memorable and quotable even 30+ years later, Shadows confuses mugging for the camera with making a joke, generates as many laughs as a won't-you-please-help-the-starving-kids-in-Africa commercial and fails to put even the tiniest twist on vampire lore.  I'm having a hard time remembering much of anything about it, and I just watched the fucking thing last night.

The style of the alleged humor is "exhaustingly self-consciously odd" in the post-Napoleon Dynamite mold of Flight of the Conchords.  Which should be no surprise as What We Do in the Dark is essentially a Conchords production.  Jemaine "Tito And Michael" Clement and Taika "Itty Bitty" Waititi share writing, directing and starring duties.  Clement plays Vladislav, the Dracula knockoff.  Waititi plays Viago, the Lestat knockoff.  Ben "No Lines" Fransham plays Petyr, the Nosferatu (aka Count Orlok) knockoff.  And Jonny "In" Brugh plays Deacon, an Adam Ant-inspired former Nazi.

That four creatures of the night share a flat and therefore must hold flat meetings to discuss the mundanities of flatting - like who's responsible for doing the dishes or cleaning up the living room - is pretty much the movie's only joke.  Throwing in some weak-ass references to Blade, The Lost Boys and Twilight, a couple of obligatory run-ins with the local werewolf pack (led by another Conchord regular, Rhys Darby "Crash") and the unfathomable dumbuckery of the vamps' introduction . . . in bloody 2014! . . . to technological wonders like cell phones and the Internet does nothing but pad the run time.

And for anyone out there who might be thinking that ol' Cinemavenger just doesn't "get" independent, low-budget comedy, I've got two words for you:  "fuck" and "you."  I dig alt-com, cult flicks, and all the rest; I just have the pesky, little requirement that they be good.  For instance, if you want to see a proper sendup of mismatched flatmates, check out the 1980s BBC series The Young Ones, any one episode of which is funnier than all of What We Do in the Shadows.