Thursday, February 26, 2015

They're just fun-loving vampires

On the list of things that have overstayed their pop-cultural welcome: Vampire movies and faux documentaries. We've had enough of both to last several lifetimes. But as with all rules, there are exceptions, and What We Do in the Shadows -- a deliciously gory comedy from New Zealand -- ranks as one of them. The vampires in this New Zealand import can seem all too human as they try to live together in a chaotic house in the capital city of Wellington. The movie begins when the preposterously suave Viago (Taika Waliti) tries to work out a schedule for his slovenly roommates. Somebody, after all, has to do the blood-stained dishes. Viago lives with Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Vladisav (Jemaine Clement), neither of whom is keenly interested in housework. Oops. I nearly forgot. An old and more frightening looking vampire named Petyr (Ben Fransham), resides in the basement. These vampires are soon joined by newbie Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), who has very little respect for vampiric decorum. The vamps also exploit a woman (Jackie van Beek)who does their chores, albeit with increasing amounts of resentment. Before the proceedings are done, Waliti and Clement, who co-directed, add a few werewolves to the mix. The comedy is served up by actors who seem totally at ease with one another and who understand how to get the most out of the material. What easily could have been as painful as another bite to the jugular happily gnaws on the funny bone.

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