Horror comedies are a rare breed, but when they come along they will either be a huge hit, or a whimpering disappointment. Destined to go on to become cult hits forever. Ghostbusters certainly achieved the former back in 1984 and is still much loved to this day, by blending horror elements with comical characters. Shaun of the Dead followed suit in 2004, becoming the world’s first Rom-Zom-Com.
Edgar Wright’s feature film directorial debut, after the cult favourite Spaced, perfectly blended the zombie horror genre with comedy. The vampire genre is up next and Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows is the first feature since Boy (2010). Co-written by Flight of the Conchords’ Jermaine Clement, the film follows three flatmates as they struggle to deal with modern life, paying bills and dealing with difficult housemates, and they all happen to be centuries old vampires.
Shot in a mockumentary style, like This is Spinal Tap, the film follows four centuries old flatmates; Viago, Deacon, Vladislav and Petyr as they struggle to adapt to modern life. Sharing a flat in the suburbs of Wellington, New Zealand, the film stars both Taika Waititi and Jermaine Clement, who previously worked on Eagle vs Shark (2007). Clement, who is one part of New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk duo, Flight of the Conchords, with Brett McKensie. Before it became a comedy hit on HBO in 2007, the comedy band was a popular BBC radio series. With the second season ending in 2009 with no further seasons, Flight of the Conchords are on permanent hiatus until a potential film or reunion tour happens. Joining Jermain Clement in What We Do in the Shadows is another Flight of the Conchords regular in New Zealand’s comic Rhys Darby as a werewolf called Anton.
Up until very recently, What We Do in the Shadows had great trouble with distribution within the United States. With only a limited release in the US, just two venues, it needed a Kickstarter campaign to increase distribution. Started in January, the campaign needed $400,000 in order to fund the incredible expenses required for distribution throughout the United States. This includes promotional material such as posters, trailers, advertising, publicity and of course the film reels themselves. Luckily, the target was achieved by 13th February and ensures the film was distributed around the whole of the US. The film was scheduled to be released on the 13th February in New York at Landmarks’ Sunshine Cinema and then on the West Coast in Los Angeles at the Arclight Cinemas/Hollywood. But with the target exceeded, What We Do in the Shadows can now
What We Do in the Shadows opened at the Sundance film festival in 2014, as well as being in the official selection of esteemed festivals such as SXSW, Berlin and Toronto film festivals. The film also was awarded the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 2014. The film has also done well outside the festival circuit by being warmly received by most critics with the UK’s The Guardian’s resident film critic Peter Bradshaw describing it as one of the best comedies of the year.
The US wide release of What We Do in the Shadows is set for March this year and is available worldwide.