Review

'Shadows' treats vampires with a light, bright touch

Faux-documentary comedy 'What We Do in the Shadows' adds fresh bite to a bled-dry genre

Just when it looked like the vampire genre had been bled dry, along comes the insanely inspired horror-satire "What We Do in the Shadows" to give it fresh bite.

Taking the form of a faux documentary in the Christopher Guest tradition, the frequently laugh-out-loud film profiles a dysfunctional group of aging children of the night who happen to be longtime New Zealand flat-mates.

Among them, Viago (Taika Waititi), Vladislav (Jemaine Clement) and Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) can claim more than a dozen centuries of existence, give or take, and that's not counting 8,000-year-old Petyr (Ben Fransham), a dead ringer for Nosferatu, who's holed up in a basement crypt.

But the supernatural order is disrupted with the arrival of freshly inducted Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer), whose youthful cockiness doesn't sit well with the cranky vampires, although his tech savvy does come in handy for Googling pictures of virgins.

What might seem unlikely to endure beyond standard sketch length proves surprisingly resilient in the hands of directors Clement and Waititi, the team responsible for the equally droll "Flight of the Conchords."

Whether Viago and company are goading a gang of well-mannered werewolves ("We're werewolves, not swear-wolves!") or getting dolled up for "The Unholy Masquerade," the big annual event held at the Cathedral of Despair for Wellington's undead community, the result is bloody hilarious.

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"What We Do in the Shadows"

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Playing: ArcLight, Hollywood.

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