Collaboration | Lecture  Documentary: (Shockumontery, Mockumentary and Docudrama).
What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
'What We Do in the Shadows' is a New Zealand mockumentary directed and produced by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, oriented around the day-to-day lives of a group of vampires over a period of 2 months. The fictitious subject for concern, combined with the appropriated codes and conventions of documentary's (and it's typical behaviour on formatting, narrating and camera etc.), allows for a comedic twist on typical horror.
The film takes on a more 'observational mode' of documenting the characters, wherein the fictitious versions of the director/camera crew, film with the intention to document "The Unholy Masquerade", but do so with a general indifference. They exist purely as a neutral window on this world of vampires, and (though acknowledged by the characters with fourth wall breaks), often remain 'hidden' from the content itself.
This allows Viago to exist as are main source of information, as he walks us through their lives, and actively talks to the camera to provide insight. The camera crew exists rather as a 'hidden' force, that's merely present, but doesn't play an active part in the unfolding events it records.
In this fictious world, wherein the director and camera crew are documenting the life of vampires, the film itself exists therefore as a mockumentary; forcefully presenting vampires (who, historically, are seen as threatening "un-dead creatures" and 'monsters' who kill humans by painfully sucking their blood out of their body... and still within media, presented in horror), in the unexpected format of documentation. Something that makes them immediately more 'relatable' (less 'creatures' and more human), and less threatening, as we see the crew record them safely, and humans like 'Stu' (Stuart Rutherford), existing with them safely- for the most part, until seemingly killed by werewolves- so again not vampires.
Issues that normally are unrelatable (i.e. being converted into a vampire, and burning alive from the sunlight), are approached with other angles we can associate with more (being promised something and left hanging, relationship problems, and group rivalry, which is evident in other forms of documentary that revolve around people and social groups).
The format of the film itself also uses mockumentary as a comedic means of approaching vampirism, by presenting itself as a chronological count-down to the masquerade. Often using mid to close up shots, as a means of capturing emotional conflict, and relationships as vocal points of interest. The characters, named during post-editing (text overlaying the footage), talk at times directly to the camera to allow inner insight into their thoughts and feelings. Something that's required in more 'realistic circumstances', wherein the subjects aren't actors, and cannot use the camera themselves to communicate their opinions.
Other aspects include emphasis on diegetic sound, and use of a hand held camera to film scenes- both of which enforce 'realism' in the film, and points out the absurdity of these scenarios (blood-sucking, hunting people etc.), when outside a 'horror' context.
Narratively, these scenarios which normally have huge emphasis in other film/tv series (immortality and death), are approached with more indifference, again pointing out the humour of showing vampires (who exist as a presence of entertainment within the media) out of their normal context.
Again working against our expectations ('The Incongruity Theory') for means of humour.
There are also moments that poke fun in more modern representations of 'vampires', (as opposed to their presence in older films such as 'Dracula' and 'Nosferatu', the latter Petyr draws definite similarities from), with the gang conflict between vampires and werewolves, mirroring that of 'Twilight'.
Fig. 1 'What We Do in the Shadows DVD Cover', (2014), [Online Image]. Available at: https://cdn.traileraddict.com/content/unknown/what-we-do-in-shadows.jpg [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].
Fig. 2 'Nosferatu', (Date Unknown), [Online Image]. Available at: http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/sites/bfi.org.uk.films-tv-people/files/image/nosferatu-bfi-00n-2r5.jpg [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017]
Fig. 3 'What we do in the Shadows', (2014), [Film Still]. Available at:
http://images.mentalfloss.com/sites/default/files/styles/mf_image_3x2/public/vampire.gif?itok=Gg72wALi&resize=1100x740 [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].
Fig. 4 'What we do in the Shadows', (2014), [Film Still]. Available at: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/wxt2DSWS_eI/maxresdefault.jpg [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].
Fig. 5 'Eclipse Battle', (Date Unknown), [Online Image]. Available at: http://www.meyemind.com/vfxlog/archives/tse/eclipse04_battle2.jpg [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017]
Bradshaw, Peter (2014), 'What We Do in the Shadows review- best comedy of the year', [Online]. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/nov/20/what-we-do-in-shadows-review [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].
Fuimaono, Corey (2017), 'Without A Home (2017 / NZ Documentary)', [Video]. Available at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tByZIhxDQEA [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].
'History.com Staff', (2017), 'Vampire History', [Online]. Available at:http://www.history.com/topics/vampire-history [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].
'IMDb', (2014), 'What We Do in the Shadows', [Online]. Available at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3416742/ [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].
'Immigration New Zealand', (2013), 'Immigration New Zealand - Julian Ilott's Migrant Story', [Video]. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdPAr1XizhU [Accessed Date: 15/12/2017].