Jermaine Clement goes solo with directional debut of What We Do In The Shadows

Posted on 2 December 2014
By George Heron
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One half of dynamic duo The Flight of The Conchords, Jermaine Clement, goes solo with his directorial debut in a surprising departure: a horror mockumentary called What We Do In The Shadows.

Don’t scoff at the hackneyed premise (like I first did).

Clement collaborates with his buddy Taika Waititi (Green Lantern) who jointly wrote, directed and stars in this entertaining farce.

A house of Vampires agrees to take part in a documentary about a myserious masquerade. The cameramen wear crucifixes and the Vampiric participants have promised not to kill them.

The attention to detail is brilliant.

It feels so real, it wouldn’t surprise me if the majority of dialogue was improvised.

It helps that Clement and Waititi have taken the time to develop three-dimensional characters that you start to care for as well as enjoy their company.

That includes the main quartet of vampires Viago (Waititi), Vlad (Clement), Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and the grotesque Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer).

It also helps that the special effects are top-notch.

Certain scenes evoke Blair Witch Project (hand-cam) and others are startlingly graphic.

Gallons of blood are used to make this film. Fellow New Zealander Peter Jackson would be proud.

There is a heady mixture of farce, awkward (a la Curb Your Enthusiasm or The Office), surreal (like the Conchords could be) and horror comedy that feels really fresh.

It’s great that it is set in the creators’ home country using native actors.

The quality of this can be proudly held alongside the Middle Earth franchise as examples of great creativity within the land of Kiwi.

Admittedly, the film does take a little bit of time to get going.

Viago does at first come across as a little bit annoying with his Cod-European accent but as with all the characters, they win you over.

It’s funny to talk about vampires in this way but it’s true.

The gags soon start coming thick and fast and most are hilarious.

Special mention must be made of a supporting role by the Conchord’s manager, Rhys Darby.

He’s the last person you’d expect to be a mythological lycanthropic creature but he has some of the best laughs.

Even Clement masterfully pulls off a role that wouldn’t think him capable after his bumbling, pathos-ridden act in Conchords.

I was praying to the Gods of Film for this to not be shit after being such a fan of the Conchords.
The Gods have answered positively.

There is life after the Conchords.