Saturday, August 8, 2015

Just leave me to do my dark bidding on the Internet.

It all started out so innocently. 
I don't even know what would possess me to do it, but I sent it, even though I felt like an asshole for doing so. I'm definitely a fan, but I hate crossing that line. It feels...desperate. I'm not cool, clearly, but I like it play it that way.

But after my phone died, I'm not going to lie, when I plugged it in, I thought, well...maybe. I mean, even though it's kind of embarrassing, there's a healthy component of oh, f--k it, you know?

And then,
This is totally absurd, right? Just f--king ridiculous, if you give it any amount of thought. But, it's also kind of perfect, too. 

Which exactly sums up how I feel about co-writer and director Jemaine Clement's 2014 mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows. As an avid fan of Clement's since the mind-numbing brilliance of HBO's Flight of the Conchords, I've always looked forward to projects he's a part of. But this one? Initially, anyway...I had my doubts.

The faux-documentary thing seems to have really run its course, as has just about anything to do with vampires. But for whatever reason, likely the talents of Clement and frequent collaborator (and fellow dry-comedy genius) Taika Watiti, the combination of the two is a smashing success. It's very seldom that I'm disappointed when a movie ends, but even in a near coma-state at two in the morning, I wanted more. 

After getting a guarantee of their personal safety, a film crew moves in and documents the lives of four vampires: Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Petyr. Most of the film deals with the minutiae of not only living with roommates, but life as a modern-day vampire. It's all played in a very low-key fashion, perfectly humdrum and borderline pathetic. The result? Big laughs out of the tiniest of situations.

Housemum Viago (Waititi), ladies man Vladislav (Clement)
and the fiery 183 year-old, Deacon (Jonny Brugh).
In addition to documenting the lives of the vampires, the crew's focus is something known as The Unholy Masquerade. Apparently this is a party for all sorts of creatures of the night, including the awesomely-named Karori Zombie Society. In fact, someone is going to be graced with the coveted title of Guest of Honor. Will it be one of the vampires, or perhaps a member of the rival gang of werewolves? Who knows. It might even be something known as The Beast. 

Decidedly award-free, are the Yays and Boos. The only sought-after title ever bestowed upon them is least funny thing on the Internet. Okay, fine. That was a made up title. And I was the only one who voted.

It's quite the party when technology is introduced to the house.
Selfies, pornography, and on-line sunsets are just the start.
  • Viago opens the proceedings attempting to run a tighter ship. It seems eight-thousand year old Petyr hasn't been cleaning up after himself. Spinal columns are quite the eyesore.
  • Vladislav was turned when he was 16. Apparently, life was really hard back 850 years ago.
  • It's really hard to get dressed for a night out, you know, when you have no reflection.
  • It's also hard to get into a club once you do get dressed. Bouncers aren't exactly keen on inviting you in.
  • Jackie, not pictured, is a human that wants to be turned. Her story is delightfully pathetic, though I appreciate she feeds the guys people she hates.
  • Speaking of, seeing Viago carefully putting newspaper down while politely talking to his next victim (before it all goes to shit anyway) perfectly encapsulates how brilliantly absurd this entire film is.
  • And after her grisly, blood-spurting death? On the upside, I think she had a really good time.
  • Ah, The Lost Boys [review]. 
  • The Nick chase scene is so f--king cool. Actually, just about every scene with Nick is incredible. 
  • Holy shit, the always fantastic Rhys Darby shows up (Murray, from FotC) and he damn near steals the movie as Anton, leader of the werewolves (a 'stinking gang of assholes' they are). When someone calls on of the vamps Count Fagula, Anton doesn't stand for it. We're werewolves, guys, not swearwolves.
  • For what appears to be a low-budge little flick, there's a pretty rad Inception-style fight scene.
  • And finally, the bit with Stu at the end. Between you and me, I almost cried I was laughing so hard at all the ridiculousness that came with the finale. The fact that was how he wanted to go still makes me start to choke up. He looks like Seal.
Petyr is a dick. I guess after 8,000 years, it's par for the course.
  • Sure it's unfair, and stupid, but if Clements involved and Bret McKenzie isn't? That's a boo. Rules is rules.
  • I had a roommate who never cleaned the bloody dishes, either. Though, to his credit, they weren't actually bloody.
  • Man, turning really sucks. Unless you like bleeding from your f--king eyes.
  • Oh, and another reason I don't want to be a vampire: chips. I enjoy eating chips.
  • Nick, the new guy, tells everyone he's a vampire. Everyone. It's a total dick move, you know? Did you tell this guy? Yes. Who is he? I don't know, but I trust him.
  • Someone refers to our crew as a homo-erotic dick-biting club. Fitting, yes. Harsh? Also yes.
  • Turns out it's kind of hard to masturbate in a coffin. Okay, you got me. I already knew that.
  • Vampire Hunters. These guys are the worst. Well, outside of Lincoln. He was a good dude.
  • Those were the best worst cops ever. (this is actually a Yay, I just needed a little balance)
  • Pauline's new guy is a real prick. I'd like to tell that guy to F--k off to a tree. If it applied, of course.
  • And finally, I know this kind of absurd humor isn't for everyone, Hell, potentially anyone, but it bums me the f--k out that a genuinely funny movie like this will never ever see the light of day in a typical movie theater. But all these bullshit remakes and reboots? They get five screens. I realize that sounds like movie snob dickery, but even if one screen was reserved for weird shit, even once a week, that would be a step in the right direction. Maybe we give up a future showing of Ride Along 2...for f--k's sake.
You know, I actually took Clement's advice and tried a little hypnosis on my wife. It was my first time, and I think I messed up.

She's went to sleep immediately.
Even before I could suggest the movie.

(It's been two days.)


  1. Great review! It's an entertaining flick, but definitely not for everyone. More people should see this though.

    1. Thanks. Yeah, it's definitely a more niche film, but I thought there were some really big laughs that damn near everyone could appreciate (just about anything with the werewolves).

      Glad you liked it, too.

  2. OMG! Love the sleeping wife pic. That's how it is in this house too, man. Forever alone, at least when it comes to movie watching.

    LOL, I need to watch this one.

    1. Yeah, she's going to be pissed about that one.

      I pretty much live a whole separate life when my kids...then wife...go to sleep. It's pretty much the college version of myself: lots of bad movies, some video games, and a dash of west coast sports. Except totally alone.

      It's super got time for it!

  3. OK that's it. I'm watching this tonight!

    1. Okay, report back how much you totally hated it.

      (fingers crossed)

    2. I really liked it! Viago was my favorite one, it was so funny how he kept looking at the camera. The bit with the newspaper and then him making such a mess when killing that girl was my favorite. Funny I never saw FotC so I only know Vladimir guy as one of the very few not horribly awful things about Dinner for Schmucks

  4. My family and I loved the hell out of this movie. We've been going around quoting it for two weeks. Our behavior is, of course, just f--king ridiculous, if you give it any amount of thought. But, it's also kind of perfect, too.

    One thing I would have added to the boos (or yays?) that freaking "erotic dance." Oh. my. God.

    1. Ha! I write something about 'sweet dance moves' in my notes, but I totally can't place the scene anymore. Hmm. It sucks getting old.

      I long for the day when the kids and I can watch something that doesn't have a talking bear in it. Oh, and to quote it? That sounds lovely. Oh, and we'll tell my wife all about it, too. You know, when she wakes up.

  5. I really enjoyed this movie too. The trailer sold me when Viago is playing with the teacup in the mirror. Because he has no relection, it looks like the cup is floating. "It's a ghost cup!" I lost it at that! There's also something so endearing about Taika Waititi in this movie. He's the cutest vampire ever.

    1. Yes he was :) Viago was the coolest vampire.

    2. Viago was routinely hysterical trying to keep the house clean. He was so polite about everything!

    3. Yes. He was even polite about brutally murdering victims. That's how I'd want to go- wined and dined, played a few notes on ukelele (or whatever that instrument was :/ ) then.having my dashing suitor go straight for the jugular. "On the up side, I think she had a really good time."

    4. I promise I did not read this comment'll see. Now I feel stupid.

      Well, more stupid.

      Than usual.

      Which is a lot.

  6. This is my new favorite horror comedy (second only to "American Werewolf in London" and "Shaun of the Dead," which barely get dibs over this feature b/c I've watched them many times since I was a young teen.) Barely a moment passes by in "What We Do in the Shadows" where I didn't get a hearty chuckle at least, a belly laugh at most. Loved Viago. Loved Deacon's 'erotic dance scene.' The banality of having to wash dishes when you're a vampire is frustratingly hysterical.

    Still wondering (a how Viago manages to have a wank when there can't conceivably be any blood pumping through that d**k and (b why can Petyr eat a chicken, but Nick can't have chips.

    Haven't watched "Flight of the Conchords." What's it about exactly?

    1. I would put it neck-and-neck with Shaun of the Dead (is it shameful to admit I never really got into AWiL?). Like you mentioned, I've seen Shaun, and bits of Shaun, probably a dozen times. That might be why it's still probably my favorite...for now.

      Whoa. I never really thought about Vampire dicks. Okay, maybe a little....but you make a good point. Pun TOTALLY intended. (I'm an ass)

      Wait. You never saw Flight of the Conchords? There is no explanation needed. Old HBO show. Two guys. S-s-stuff happens. AAAAAAHHH. JUST WATCH IT. It's sooooooooooooo great. (it actually makes this movie better)

      Or was that a joke? Hmm.

  7. 'Neck-and-Neck?' is that a little wordplay as well perhaps? :P

    1. Oh, totally unintentional. But good call, regardless. I tend to avoid such lame puns and just go for the jugular.

      *utter silence*

      I'll show myself out.