Unlike anything I’ve ever seen, really, this is a documentary, filmed entirely in New Zealand apparently, where there are four vampires; Viago, Daemon, Vladislav and Petyr, the last one about 8,000 years old, Viago almost 400, Vladislav almost 900. You get the gist. The filmmakers needed to wear crucifixes to get this and had to swear a few probably love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin cataclysms to get the footage...yeah, this is a mockumentary about the secret world of vampires, in particular these four, and when another vampire that was just bitten is added to the group, the multiple-centenarians get an extra look at the world around them, and a few bad things might be coming for them. All the while they cackle and holler and laugh. I know this synopsis sounded dark, but it’s a comedy. It reminds you of that every twenty seconds.
You can threaten to kill me, but I’m sorry to say this completely original but bloodily tawdry mockumentary is a failure on pretty much every level - or maybe its obvious ilogistics just don’t bother other people. My loss, I guess…
But here’s where I talk about its logical flaws. First of all, if we’re going to want to laugh with these characters and the jokes they splurge out, we have to like them. As the protagonists. Yes, they’re funky dressed and the ones starting with “V” sound like they’re having fun with their roles, but Viago sucks on a girl he takes home with him and she talks about all these places she wants to go in the world. As he was sucking her blood, as she was cold dead, and he’s upset about the mess he makes, I immediately took a distaste to him. We’re supposed to laugh at the puking blood. My family laughed at it. I both cringed and looked away from the screen in annoyance.
Also, Nick is the name of the new vampire. Spoilers, but he gets bitten by these vampires after he gets tricked into showing up for spaghetti, and they end the life of his friend Jacqueline. He calls them, “Freaks!” as he makes his getaway, but he says it as if the boys all got naked and danced to Mamma Mia, not attacked him in an attempt to end his life. He says it with no fear. And then when we see he’s now a vampire, he hangs with this group with no hard feelings. He says he had to say farewell to his family but now says he has a new family. These four. I just...WHAT?! If that wasn’t tumultuous enough, it transitions to “Two Months Later” after his biting to see he’s already become accustomed to the fam. Not only are we told rather than shown to us how Nick accidentally became a vampire instead of outright dying, but there’s no development to this new friendship whatsoever.
The story is also one of the weakest I’ve watched in a very long time. Okay, so there are vampires and werewolves that roam the world. How many times do vampires have to suck human blood? Why does it have to be human blood? Have these creatures ever been outed to the world? Viago has an unrequited crush on a girl that aged, unlike him, and they end up reconciling, and it’s supposed to be funny but for me within a second was painful. I don’t know what it’s like to be 96 years old, but I doubt many people have the energy to do much at that age...I hate not being able to tell the whole story here. And Vladislav has this side story with an infamous Beast...that goes nowhere. The worst part of it is, Nick eventually thinks about how being a vampire might not be all its worth; he can’t eat delicious food, he lives past all his friends...and this doesn’t go anywhere. There’s even a tragedy that happens in the climax that almost works...but it ends up a psyche-out and it’s only explored with a censored image...It didn’t have to be. There’s also not a valid point for any of these vampires to be alive.
By now you might be thinking, I don’t have a sense of humour, do I? Well, I mostly like slapstick. That generally makes me fall on the floor. And I’ve hollered out loud for lots of movies. Difference between those and this one? Like Fifty Shades of Black I might add, there are too many of the jokes. Melissa McCarthy’s Spy had jokes every twenty seconds or sooner and I loved that movie. But that movie had at least likeable and exciting characters, welcoming us right into the world so we don’t have to think of anything gruel and nasty distracting us from a joke. And most movies that I think are funny also give us time to explore a story.
Look, it’s a different movie. And its premise is...fine. I love the opening song and the splatter effects are good, and a dance scene by Viago’s pretty well-renditioned. And I think it makes fun of the general coming-out scene in a vampiric confession. But there’s another mockumentary. Ever heard of Chronicle, from Josh Trank and released back in 2012? If What We Do In The Shadows at least tried to reach or even show proof of attempting the sophistication of its dynamics, conflicts and excitement, this movie would’ve had a chance for a recommendation, but I’m afraid when Viago sucked the blood of that girl, it swallowed that chance like a hurricane of blood.
Because of the massive critical success of the film, more material from this universe is supposedly on its way. The advertisers better hide their first trailers from me.