A few years ago I was ready to concede that the vampire & zombie genres had reached their saturation points. In the mad rush to capitalize off of the successes of viable commodities like Twilight & The Walking Dead, the market has just been flooded with untold piles of subpar schlock like Vampires Suck & Zombeavers. Every now & then, however, a movie proves me wrong. I found the zom-coms Life After Beth & Warm Bodies to be surprisingly sweet and compassionate. The unfairly ignored Vamps was a return to form for Clueless-guru Amy Heckerling’s particular brand of social satire. I have yet to see Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, but from the advertising it seems to bring the 80’s classic The Hunger’s vampiric ennui into the 21st Century, an aesthetic I hadn’t considered would return. The endless implications & metaphors swirling around the undead have proved the genres endlessly adaptable, even if the final product isn’t always solid.
That’s why I’m hopeful for the New Zealand horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows. It promises to take the same ennui employed by Only Lovers Left Alive into the satiric comedy territory of Vamps. Posed as a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary, the film follows modern day vampires as they navigate mundane activities like nightlife, dealing with roommates, and searching for a bite to eat. They clash with the likes of witches, zombies, werewolves, and plain-old humans in a loosely-plotted slice of (undead) life comedy. From the looks of the trailer, it could be quite funny as well as a fresh take on a genre I once thought hopelessly stale.
What We Do in the Shadows is currently looking to fund an American theatrical release through a Kickstarter campaign. The Kickstarter’s page is helmed by the filmmakers themselves, Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi, two of the creative minds behind the cult-classic comedy series Flight of the Conchords (as well as the films Boy & Eagle vs Shark). Clement is also a major player in one my favorite dumb comedies, Gentlemen Broncos. He’s a very funny & talented performer that I wish didn’t have to beg for funding like this, but the worst part is that the campaign is barely more than halfway funded with just a week left to go.
Even if you are not in a position to donate to the film’s American distribution, at least visit the Kickstarter page for a humorous promo featuring Clement & Waititi themselves or maybe help spread it elsewhere on the internet. It would be great if more people could see this promising, self-funded comedy and it was rewarded for bringing undead concepts into unexpectedly fresh territory.