What We Do in the Shadows

What We Do in the Shadows ★★★½

This was a very enjoyable and funny film. While watching it, I was struck at how close emotional moments between horror films and comedy films are. There are several segments of tension that would work in a horror film, except for the fact that the emotional release is a laugh instead of a scream. I am thinking specifically of the scene when Nick is being chased by the vampires. Visually alone, this is a pure horror scene straight out of Blair Witch or any other found footage horror film. However, the goofy music on the soundtrack completely redirects the tension towards comedy instead of horror. You don't feel for Nick and his panic - instead you laugh at his struggle.

I am always impressed in comedy of style - the joke is not a pratfall, punchline, or character action. Instead the comedy comes from the set dressing - the costumes, the furniture, and the general look of the scene. This style seems to be the dominant tone of the day - it is prevalent in the work of Wes Anderson as well as in other films like Napoleon Dynamite. It is a type of humor that I can appreciate even though I couldn't recreate it in a million years. The only negative that I can see with this approach is that it doesn't lead to belly laughs. There aren't any over-the-top set pieces that cause involuntary bursts of merriment.

M.R. liked this review