Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

What We Do in the Shadows

(New Zealand, 2015)

It’s a clever idea, and it worked … for a while. Four vampires are living in a modern New Zealand city, venturing out at night to suck blood. There is Viago, 379 years old, Vladislav (known as Vlad the Poker for his penchant for poking people with things) aged 862, Deacon, a youthful 183. Then there is Petyr, an 8,000-year-old spitting image of Nosferatu, who they keep in the basement and feed live chickens. The idea is that a documentary crew is staying in the house for a while (protected by crosses around their necks) and filming what goes on in the house, which often includes very bloody murders. Let’s not even get into how they intend to get away once this thing is shown, okay? I’ll accept the premise. Just like real humans, they can’t resist the cameras of a reality show. Anything to get on the TV!

But it got tiresome. It might have helped if at least one of them had been a little more appealing as a character. I mean, even a blood-sucking fiend needs to have a little something going for him if I am to get into his story. But I quickly tired of Deacon, who talks a little like that Andy Kaufman guy on Taxi, and the others were not a lot better. We turned it off at about the halfway point. I hadn’t laughed all that much.

I will give them credit for one “fact” they acknowledged, something that very few vampire movies deal with. According to the lore, a vampire can’t enter a place unless he is invited. No, darling, he can’t sneak through your window like the Sheik of Araby, a devilishly handsome guy like Frank Langella, and ravish your sweet little body. And you don’t want to be ravished by Petyr, trust me on this. But this limitation is a real problem if you are out trying to sample the latest trendy clubs. The bouncers outside places like that admit nobody unless they know them well, much less invite them inside. It was funny to see their frustration. Apart from that, not all that many laughs.