I have a huge comedy crush on director Taika Waititi at this point. I am deliriously happy that he is directing Thor Ragnarok.
I adored his Sundance film Hunt for the Wilderpeople, one of my top 10 films of the year. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is now on Amazon for rental or free with Amazon Prime.
I realized this weekend that his earlier film What We Do In The Shadows is also on Amazon Prime. I started laughing in the opening credits with the cheesy skipping scratchy New Zealand documentary board logo for this mockumentary.
Taika co-wrote What We Do In The Shadows with co-star Jemaine Clement (known for The Flying Conchords on HBO and voice work in the recent Moana). Taika made a short film first (available on Youtube here), and then premiered the feature film at Sundance in 2014.
Taika stars as the fussy 379 year old vampire Viago. Clement is the 862 year old Vladislav, and they share their Wellington, New Zealand flat with two other vampires, the relatively young vampire Deacon (Jonathan Brugh), aged 183 and the ancient vampire Petyr.
Just watch the first 6 minutes of the film. Taika wakes up his flatmates for a flat meeting about all the bloody dirty dishes that Deacon has left in the sink. It is a riot from the get go.
Sort of like the Mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, this film is not so much about plot, but about the delicious ridiculousness of the characters and their situation. Deacon’s human familiar brings over two young people (“I thought they were virgins! Just look at them!”) Things go South, and young Nick is turned into a vampire by the ancient Petyr.
There’s another dustup in the house, and the police arrive at the door. These two cops are hypnotized to not see anything out of the ordinary, and their deadpan, “Uh oh. Do you see that? …… No smoke alarm!” The cops are so amusing that Taika Waititi is creating a TV show based on their characters.
Nick’s human friend Stu moves into the flat and teaches the vampires about modern technology, and they love taking selfies since they’ve spent centuries not being able to see their reflection. My favorite scene may have been their encounter with a werewolf pack. Things get a little heated and one werewolf swears, which earns the classic rebuke “We’re werewolves, not swearwolves!”
The sequel to What We Do In The Shadows is already in the works, and it has a puntsatic title: “We’re Wolves” LOL The film culminates in a big masquerade ball filled with vampires, zombies, etc. where Vlad (Jemaine) has a loaded encounter with his ex.
I’ve already rewatched half the film because I had to share it with my husband. I’m not sure he found it quite as funny as I did, but it’s one of those comedies where you start laughing when you know what bit is coming. Great rewatchability. I adored nearly every absurd moment. The film lagged a bit in the middle, but it’s still a comedy gem. Cannot recommend it highly enough. I’m still chuckling thinking about fussy Viago (Taika) laying down towels and newspapers before he goes in for his victim’s neck. And then making a huge mess and standing in despair with a roll of paper towels. Who thought vampires could be so sweet and funny?
I’m SO looking forward to Thor Ragnarok. Taika’s given us a taste:
Also, Taika Waititi is hilarious to follow on Twitter.