Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s “What We Do In The Shadows” is worth the five-year wait

Noah Levine and Brooke Sjoberg

The latest installment of “What We Do In The Shadows” is an FX series, whose pilot premiered at SXSW. The premiering pilot is based on the film of the same name, released in 2014. The mockumentary series follows Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) and their familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) as they prepare for the arrival of a powerful visitor.

The anachronistic nature of “What We Do In The Shadows” is absolutely perfect for the mockumentary format of the show. Dropping something as simple as glitter or crepe paper into the situation and having one of the vampires (who have somehow been in the country for 200 years and are still easily impressed) react to it creates truly hilarious comedy. There is so much opportunity for high quality humor with this format, and it offers a sense of promise to forthcoming episodes. However, this is not the only funny aspect of the pilot.

The true comedy comes from the core cast who magnificently bring the centuries-old vampires to (undead) life. The performances in the show are very reminiscent of those from the original film which help keep the iconic style consistent. The bickering between characters complete with hilarious vampiric antics make for some wonderfully morbid entertainment. Guillermo, the vampire’s familiar, offers a charming element of “normalness” among the supernatural. Colin, the “energy” vampire, is a hilarious rendition of the typical coworker who uses his boringness to drain the energy of his victims.

The reference to vampires both in pop culture and historical lore enhances the satirical aspect of “What We Do In The Shadows” so intensely that the project likely wouldn’t be as funny without them. Nandor, in an effort to show their guest how excited he is at their arrival, decides to put glitter “all over his face and body.” One guess where that’s from. Illustrations of vampires from folklore are utilized to put pictures to the stories told by Nandor, Laszlo and Nadja of the “old days,” contextualizing their “experiences” within what is a larger part of the vampire mythos.

Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement have directed another masterful iteration of “What We Do In The Shadows,” which will surprise and delight. The series will premiere on FX Mar. 27.

“What We Do In The Shadows”

Score: 4/5