What We Do in the Shadows

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What We Do in the Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Taika Waititi
Jemaine Clement
Produced by Taika Waititi
Chelsea Winstanley
Emanuel Michael
Written by Taika Waititi
Jemaine Clement
Starring Taika Waititi
Jemaine Clement
Rhys Darby
Jonathan Brugh
Cori Gonzalez-Macuer
Stu Rutherford
Release dates
  • 19 January 2014 (2014-01-19) (Sundance Film Festival)
  • 15 June 2014 (2014-06-15) (Sydney Film Festival)
  • 19 June 2014 (2014-06-19) (New Zealand wide release)
Running time 87 minutes
Country New Zealand
Language English

What We Do in the Shadows is a New Zealand horror comedy mockumentary film about a group of vampires who live together in Wellington, New Zealand. It was directed and written by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, who also star in the film. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014.[1][2]


The film is based on a 2006 short film of the same name by Waititi and Clement. The new film was shot in Wellington in September 2012, and is Waititi's first feature since Boy.[1][2]


Viago, Vladislav and Deacon are three vampires who currently live in the Wellington suburb of Te Aro and currently haunt the streets of that New Zealand city looking for sustenance. Although Viago, Vladislav and Deacon are all several centuries old, they have more or less retained human appearance. The same cannot be said for Petyr, a Nosferatu-like inhuman vampire who inhabits their basement. The trio find it difficult to adapt to life in the early twenty first century due to their necessary seclusion within their flat to avoid sunlight, which is lethal to vampires. Deacon has a female retainer, Jackie, who runs errands for the trio. Due to a mishap, the trio fail to dine on Nick, a university student, and Petyr inadvertently sires him. Several months later, the upstairs trio discover this, but develop generational problems with Nick's openness about his new post-human lifestyle. Nick invites Stu into the flat, a computer programmer friend, with whom the vampire trio bonds until estrangement occurs. Petyr is killed when Nick is indiscreet about the flatmates and their vampirism, resulting in a vampire hunter attack on the eldest vampire. At a subsequent ball, the trio meet other post-human denizens of Wellington, such as zombies and witches, other vampires and Vladislav's ex-girlfriend, "The Beast." Deacon is annoyed when he finds that Nick has sired Jackie without his permission. After a fight at the ball, the four vampires and Stu encounter a troupe of werewolves about to transform, led by Anton (Rhys Darby), who is its alpha male. Stu is attacked in a resulting chase by the werewolves, and left for dead by the vampires. However, a while later, Stu reappears, having been turned into a werewolf himself - eventually reconciling them with the vampires, as do Nick and the other vampires. Despite their differences with Nick, the other vampires have adapted to early twenty first century life, relationships and technology by the film's end.


  • Taika Waititi as Viago, aged 379
  • Jemaine Clement as Vladislav, aged 862
  • Jonathan Brugh as Deacon, aged 183
  • Ben Fransham as Petyr, aged 8,000
  • Jackie Van Beek as Jackie
  • Cori Gonzalez-Macuer as Nick
  • Stu Rutherford as Stu
  • Rhys Darby as Anton
  • Ethel Robinson as Katherine


Critical reception for What We Do in the Shadows has been mostly positive,[3] with ''Fearnet calling the film a "great vampire comedy".[4] Film School Rejects wrote a predominantly positive review, commenting that some of the film's broader moments fell flat but compared it favorably to similar mockumentaries such as Best in Show.[5] Variety was more critical of the movie, writing that "Some genre fans who prefer the silly to the satiric may bite, but the anemic pic isn’t remotely weird or witty enough for cult immortality."[6]


  1. ^ a b "Taika and Jemaine unleash vampires in USA". NZ Herald. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Sundance debut for Kiwi vampire spoof". Stuff.co.nz. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013. 
  3. ^ Taylor, Drew. "SXSW Review: Vampire Comedy 'What We Do In The Shadows' Draws Blood". Indiewire. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  4. ^ Weinberg, Scott. "FEARNET Movie Review: 'What We Do in the Shadows'". Fearnet. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Campbell, Christopher. "SXSW 2014 Review: ‘What We Do In the Shadows’ Is Also a New Vampire Classic". FSR. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Nelson, Rob. "Sundance Film Review: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’". Variety. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 

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