POV – Point of Vampire: Looking Back on 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows (Spoilers Ahead)

Newcomer Nick, portrayed by Cori Gonzalez-Macauer, is reluctantly accepted into the ranks of centuries-old vampires, Viago, Vladislav and Deacon. 

He introduces himself as a vampire to the attendant documentary crew and in that moment becomes our eyes and ears into the world (and the hype) of vampires, from start to film’s finish.

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(from left to right) Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Ben Fransham, Jonny Brugh (top), Cori Gonzalez-Macauer and Stu Rutherford in a scene from their 2014 feature film, What We Do in the Shadows (WeekendNotes.com Photo)

Nick’s journey is marked by several points from co-director/co-screenwriters Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement including that people are usually more complex than they appear (à la Taika Waititi’s Viago, Jemaine Clement’s Vladislav and Jonny Brugh’s Deacon being protective of Stu Rutherford’s Stu).

Also, that life is full of disappointments (akin to Jackie van Beek’s Jackie being passed over for vampire status by Deacon and Viago having to go decades without marrying his love).

Moreover, that society only works when its groups compromise and show compassion to each other (much like Deacon agreeing to do the dishes and how Rhys Darby’s Anton brings Stu back to the vampires).

That being said, time does not heal all wounds, especially in relationships (similar to Vladislav choosing to avoid the masquerade and his ex-girlfriend, Pauline, whilst Viago can only observe his love from a distance).

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(from left to right) Star Cori Gonzalez-Macauer, producer Emanuel Michael and co-director/screenwriter/star(s) Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi at a New York City screening for 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows (Zimbio.com Photo and Caption)

The above being said, and at the expense of the film’s villains – Elena Stejko’s Pauline/The Beast and Brad Harding’s vampire hunter – only Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and the werewolves are more than appearances-deep.

Nick’s life is full of angry disappointment – he leaves post-Deacon fight, shouting of vampire-dom, ‘don’t believe the hype, it’s shit!’ – and shows that our characters’ lives – Jackie, Viago and Vladislav – are marked by their disappointments and struggle to overcome them.

More explicitly done is the view that communities work due to compromise and compassion. This point worked best during the vampire fight near the film’s end when Pauline could not accept Stu’s presence in an undead-only party over pedantry of the rules.

In 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows, characters do suffer but do ‘heal’ by the film’s end. This happened with Viago and his love; however, Vladislav and Pauline only remembered why they hated each other, to begin with.

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(from left to right) Co-director/screenwriter/star(s) Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement at the 2014 AFI Fest in Los Angeles (MovPins.com Photo and Zimbio.com Caption)

The above being said, co-director/co-screenwriters Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s 2014 feature film, What We Do in the Shadows is worth watching for its evident  vampire-inspired comedy and for the human-inspired commentary woven in.

By including Nick as the audience’s point of view, the idea of humans-made-vampires is front and centre; this builds on the documentary-meets-movie feel of 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows.

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(from left to right) Co-director/co-screenwriters Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi photographed for Vice.com (Vice.com Photo and Caption)

Director Taika Waititi’s Trademarks in 2014’s What We Do in the Shadows:

  1. Stories about companionship: the film follows Viago, Vladislav and Deacon (and later Nick and Stu too) as they live together in their Wellington home and explore the town.
  2. Symmetrical photography: some of Viago’s sit-down scenes with the documentary crew see him in the middle of the frame.
  3. Appearance in the film: co-director/screenwriter Taika Waititi co-stars as the vampire, Viago in this film.

(Whilst the opinions and observations cited above are, unless stated otherwise, the author’s own, the following sources were used for information: IMDb.com)

The Reverse-Screenwriters’ Club (Spoilers Ensue):

Plot: a group of secret Wellington-set vampires share their lives with a documentary crew.

Prologue: Viago decides to wake everyone up; Viago decides to convene the flat meeting.

Act 1: Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to prepare to head out to town; Viago, Vladislav and Deacon head out into Wellington.

Act 2: Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to try and get invited to the clubs around town; Deacon decides to ask Jackie to bring them victims.

Act 3: Viago and Vladislav decide to go hunting humans; Viago, Vladislav and Deacon later decide to receive Jackie and victims at home.

Act 4: Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to stalk Nick the human around their home; Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to let Peter kill Nick.

Act 5: Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to receive the newly-vampire-d Nick at home; Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to let Nick move in with them.

Act 6: Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to head to the Boogie Wonderland club; Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to approach the werewolf pack on their way out.

Act 7: Nick decides to confide his vampire-ness to his friend, Stu; Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to welcome Stu to their flat.

Act 8: Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to return to the club; Nick decides to tell the clubbers he’s a vampire.

Act 9: Deacon decides to confront Nick over his lack of secrecy; Deacon decides to visit Jackie.

Act 10: Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to try and save Peter from the sunlight-induced fire; Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to investigate Peter’s death.

Act 11: Deacon decides to fight Nick over his disclosure to the vampire hunter earlier; Viago decides to admit the police investigating the commotion.Act 12: Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick

Act 12: Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to try Nick over his actions; Viago, Vladislav, and Deacon decide to banish Nick.

Act 13: Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to prepare for the Unholy Masquerade; Viago  Deacon and Stu decide to go without Vladislav.

Act 14: Viago and Deacon decide to meet Nick and the recently-bitten Jackie at the ball; Viago decides to reveal Stu’s human nature to Pauline.

Act 15: Vladislav decides to intervene and save Stu from Pauline; Vladislav and Stu decide to kill Pauline’s boyfriend.

Act 16: Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, Nick and Stu decide to approach the werewolf pack outside the party; Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to try and save Stu from them, unsuccessfully.

Act 17: Deacon decides to comfort Nick over his loss; Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to let Stu be taken by the paramedics and police.

Act 18: Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Nick decide to pay their respects to Stu; Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to settle in for the morning.

Act 19: Deacon decides to receive Nick and new werewolf, Stu, at home; Viago, Vladislav and Deacon decide to receive the werewolf pack at home.

Epilogue (over credits): Vladislav gets back together with Pauline; Stu adjusts to being a werewolf.

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