Halloween Advent: What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

Rating 15
Length 1h26
Release 12.4.2017
Director Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement
About Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr are vampires who share a flat. Deacon’s servant Jackie leaves her ex-boyfriend Nick inside. Petyr turns him into a vampire and he soon joins them as a flatmate.
Moon: no moon sighting that I noticed
Where to Watch: Amazon Prime


  • As with most improvisation, the plot can feel a little aimless. For an average viewer, that might be a little off putting or challenging when it comes to focus.
  • There’s a certain something about the humour of the creatives behind some of the most brilliant New Zealand exports. It’s vegemite, for want of a better word. You are either going to be hooked from the start and love what they produce, or you are going to question the sanity of everyone who tells you to love them.
  • Mockumentary films are not for everyone. Their style and tone will put a lot of people off.


  • A vampiric Spinal Tap?! What is not to love?
    From botched feedings to werewolf rivalry, this film gives you the lovable stupidity of the Tap boys and a centuries old view of a modern house share.
  • This is an example of incredible improvisation and what stands actors like these apart from the SNL crew. There’s an effortless chemistry between the players and it allows an element of comfort within the apparent aimlessness of the plot. Which, lets face it, is a natural feature of a documentary.
  • While your Flight of the Concords regulars are as amazing and on point as always, the star of the outing has to be human Stu. A computer tech guy thrown along for the ride through happenstance.
  • The humour, while niche, is outstanding. Think the IT Crowd, but with New Zealand panache.
  • The music and soundtrack will haunt you long after the film finishes.

Final Thoughts

The house share element is frighteningly relatable, the horror is on point and its no surprise that it spawned a tv series and a potential sequel.

Dracula (1958)

Rating: X

Length: 1Hr 22

Release: 22.5.1958

About: On a search for his missing friend Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen), vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) is led to Count Dracula’s (Christopher Lee) castle. Upon arriving, Van Helsing finds an undead Harker in Dracula’s crypt and discovers that the count’s next target is Harker’s ailing fiancée, Lucy Holmwood (Carol Marsh). With the help of her brother, Arthur (Michael Gough), Van Helsing struggles to protect Lucy and put an end to Count Dracula’s parasitic reign of terror.

The good

  • The acting is much better than my past experiences of watching Dracula. Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee provide that familiarity that you’d come to expect of Hammer Horrors. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else take on Van Helsing in a better way.
  • It took me a while to spot him, but Wayne Manner’s resident butler Michael Gough is an absolute joy to watch as the father of Lucy. It’s at his introduction that the film is a smoother watch and he works very well with Cushing.
  • The defeat of Dracula is quite brilliant, even now. Yes, there was a slight difference in the colouration to the rest of the film, but the physical effects themselves really do stand up. Much better than so CGI counterparts ever could.

The bad

  • I’m unsure as to why Dracula speaks at the start but is reduced to growls and hisses. It does nothing for the narrative and having him speak. It’s not enough to make him disarming and it’s too much to allow him to be fearful.

The ugly

  • I think it might be the Dracula story itself, but I found this rather clunky and slow to gain traction in its lack of protagonist. Or rather, a protagonist who isn’t present from the start. Perhaps framing the film and beginning with Van Helsing receiving Jonathan’s diary. That way we’re with Cushing from the start.

Final Thoughts

A clunky but well acted version of the legendary Dracula that plays a little more like a thriller than a horror.