Omar: 5 OUTTA 5 STARS YO

I bet you weren’t expecting that were you? A perfect score, the highly coveted “Omar Stamp of Perfection” Well this movie deserves it and I don’t blame you if you’re hesitant to believe me. If someone had told me a few weeks ago that there was a Roomate-Vampire mockumentary out there worthy of a perfect score I would’ve said, “That sounds awesome, where do I sign-up?”…but I wouldn’t have expected it to actually live up to the perfect score claim. But hey don’t take my word for it, with 131 votes on the trusty Rotten Tomatoes meter the film still sits at a nice and ketchupy 96%.

The New Zealand horror-comedy What We Do in the Shadows was co-written and directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (one half of the band Flight of the Conchords!). Along with writing and directing, both of the aforementioned star in the film as the vampires Viago (age 379) and Vladislav (age 862) respectively. These two are joined by Jonathan Brugh as Deacon (age 183) and Ben Fransham as Petyr (age 8,000). These four make-up the original tenants of the flat in Wellington that we are introduced to.

The basic premise of this film is that these four vampires of various ages have hired a camera crew to follow them around and document their lives. The camera crew is hardly ever interacted with directly or even referenced, the whole thing was reminiscent of The Office in that way. Anyway, these guys all come from different eras and get into all sorts of shenanigans when they awaken for their night-time adventures.

The premise of the movie was so simple yet brilliant and was one of my favorite things about the film. I mean, when else have you seen a morbidly hilarious DOCUMENTARY following the everyday lives of vampires? Vampire movies tend to be a serious affair. By nature of the film being a “documentary”, some of the funniest moments arise when the cameraman decides to focus on certain facial expressions, reactions, and oddities that would otherwise be out of place in any other type of movie (again, think of The Office). There are tons of good jokes here that arise surrounding the topic of roommate tensions that any non-vampire can relate to like sharing responsibilities, getting along in one household, etc. These moments are great by themselves but the funniest moments arise when paired with the deceptively deep mythical creature lore this movie packs in. For example, Petyr is obviously supposed to be Count Orlok of Nosferatu (1922) fame. Not coincidentally, Petyr happens to be the most violent and serious vampire of the bunch. Then there’s Vladislav who casually has a human slave and torture chamber and happens to be strongly suggested to be Vlad the Impaler. So those references are awesome but then there’s the hilariousness that arrives with the struggles of being a vampire in a modern society. For example, how do you know if you picked a good outfit to go clubbing in if you have no reflection? How do you even get into a good club if vampire law dictates that you need to be explicitly invited inside before you can cross a doorway? What do you do when the love of your life, a human, is old and frail? Most importantly, how do you drain a victim of their blood in your apartment without having to worry about the bloody mess afterwards?

I was mentioning the lore earlier and that point goes deeper than just vampires. Throughout the movie there are interactions with vampire-hunters, werewolves, zombies, beasts, witches, etc. Clearly the movie has plenty of good material to work with but the writing and directing really make is something special. Like I said, the choices of what to say and show and what not to were made brilliantly and made the movie a very well balanced comedy. The script honestly seemed perfect to me with so many hilariously subtle moments. the acting was fantastic as well! All the characters represented their characters very well but I won’t pretend that this has nothing to do with the fact that I haven’t seen these actors in any other roles.

I really don’t know how much more I can say about this movie. The costumes were spot on, the crappy apartment was spot on, the style was spot on, everything seemed spot on. It’s not big secret that pretty much every time Liz and I want to watch something we simply find an online stream to do our watching. Liz prides herself on being able to find streams for any movie and show ever made. This was one of those very rare moments when neither of us could find a stream but I decided to just rent it on Amazon for a few bucks and I don’t regret the decision in the slightest. The only thing I didn’t like was that I read recently that there are plans for a sequel. I was put off by this idea not because of anything wrong with the this film but rather because of everything right about this film. It just seems like one of those movies that is so original and well done from top to bottom that they couldn’t possibly make another without ruining it or rehashing old jokes. That’s none of our concern here though is it? The moral of the story here is, GO WATCH THIS MOVIE!

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