WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (M)
Capitol Manuka, Dendy, Hoyts Belconnen
Filmmakers Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi go for your funny bone, starting with that tender flesh around your neck and working their way down, in this hilarious ''documentary'' following a share-house of vampires in suburban Wellington.
Kiwis are a funny bunch of people, ready to take the puss (an accent joke, not a typo) at a moment's notice. Jemaine Clement is half of the Flight of the Conchords boys, and so has a wealth of experience translating that droll Kiwi humour for an international audience.
He teams up with Boy director Waititi, and together they are an unstoppable force, crafting a screenplay that hits again and again, from vulgar to cerebral and back again. They also share directing duties.
In a group house in Wellington live vampires Viago (Waititi), a Lord Byron-era dandy; Deacon, a 17th-century romantic whom one image in the title credits implies might have once been called Rasputin; Vladislav (Clement), who lives up to the Bram Stoker vision of the sex-and-blood-obsessed vampire; and Peter (Ben Fransham) - 8000 years old and of the long tooth and pointy-eared Nosferatu-style.
A documentary film crew is on hand - the film opens with a ''New Zealand Documentary Unit'' logo - and in faux-doco style they follow the boys through a few months of their lives, from a house meeting about the washing up, to the evisceration and turning of victim-cum-new housemate Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer).
The jokes come thick and fast, and the delivery by the cast is hilarious. Each of the leads, in their own way, is adorable and perfectly cast, though I think I developed a bit of a thing for Waititi and his adorable mugging for the camera.
The production team obviously enjoyed their work - from the beautiful sets by Ra Vincent and team to the op-shop-combing delights of the costuming by Lucy McLay.
The visual effects are adorably trashy, and much attention has been paid to centuries of vampire imagery in the title credits and throughout, often to wonderful comic effect.
So cohesive is this troupe and their fresh bite at an over-chewed genre, one can only hope this film's success fosters further collaboration.
Comedy with bite.