If there’s an angle of vampire mythology that Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement didn’t find a way to turn into a great joke, I’ll be damned if I could tell you what it is. The fake-umentary premise posits a film crew following a quartet of vampires (including Waititi and Clement as Viago and Vladislav) around contemporary Wellington, New Zealand, getting a sense for what it’s like to be one of the blood-sucking undead in the modern world. Every one of the main characters gets a wonderfully distinct personality, allowing for great bits like a conflict between one member of the group, Duncan, (Jonathan Brugh) and newly-changed rookie vampire Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) that plays out almost like sibling rivalry, and the foppish Viago’s insistence on basic tidiness like putting down newspapers before a bloodletting. Rarely is there an attempt at anything more substantial than punch lines, and the one exception—Viago’s long-carried torch for a human woman—falls a bit flat. But when a movie is delivering consistently killer punch lines based on everything from vindictive human familiars to “bat fights,” why pick nits?
Director: Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
Producer: Jemaine Clement, Emanuel Michael, Taika Waititi, Pamela Harvey-White and Chelsea Winstanley
Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Stuart Rutherford, Ben Fransham, Jackie van Beek, Elena Stejko and Rhys Darby