“Vampire Brats”: I watch “What We Do in the Shadows”

“Vampire Brats”: I watch “What We Do in the Shadows” March 30, 2015

at the Federalist:

Before you accept the immortal kiss of the vampire, ask yourself one question: Do I want to be doing the dishes for the rest of eternity?

“What We Do in the Shadows” is a charming mockumentary from writer-director team Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, exploring the unglamorous side of vampire life (or death) in New Zealand. It perfectly mimics reality-show conventions, like the self-narration with which the film opens: “So it’s six in the evening, which is when I wake up. This is always the really scary part for me,” the foppish Viago (also played by Waititi) confides to the camera as he checks to see if the sun is finally down. …

The most unexpected element of “What We Do” is the way its subject matter seems to force the film to take on themes of regret and exposure of failure. How do you live with the things you’ve done, when you know you’ll have to live with yourself forever? The documentary crew sometimes catches the vampires in lies or cheap self-justifications. To the extent that “What We Do” has any coherent message on these topics, it suggests that we learn to live with ourselves by lowering our expectations and accepting the moral grubbiness of our (after)lives. Yes, sure, Petyr is a terrifying monster, but we’ve known him for so long!


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