It’s vampire vs. zombie in this look at two modern horror comedies.
WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (2014)
What We Do in the Shadows is highly reminiscent of Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows, only much funnier. It also feels more like a series of gothic/vampire skits than a full-length movie; the simple plot is virtually an afterthought. The humorous sketches about life as a vampire are like a throwback to the classic monster cartoon Groovie Goolies.
Four vampire flatmates—a slacker, a man whore, a romantic, and a clone of Barlow from Salem’s Lot—are being filmed by a documentary crew. Their daily challenges include sharing the chores, trying to doll up for a night on the town when they can’t check their looks in a mirror, waiting to be invited into clubs, finding victims, and battling with a pack of werewolves that lives in the woods. Eventually, they turn one of their male victims into a vamp and have to teach him the ins and outs of existing as a vampire.
For vampire fans, there’s plenty of great, humorous satire on popular vamp lore, plus references to movies like The Lost Boys and Twilight. There aren’t many major moments of horror, so the few that exist should be cherished, because they’re damn good. The Barlow vamp is awesome, there’s a rockin’ scene in which the vamps chase their male victim around the house (in a different movie, this would have been considered a pretty terrifying scene), and just when you think we’re never going to see the werewolves transform, there’s a wicked vamp/wolf battle in the woods. I wanted more of these standout moments.
BURYING THE EX (2014)
I love monster comedies like My Boyfriend’s Back, My Demon Lover, and My Best Friend’s a Vampire. And with Joe Dante of The Howling and Gremlins fame directing Burying the Ex, I had high hopes. But there’s just something “off” about the tone of Burying the Ex. Maybe I’d think it a classic if I was a teen watching it today, but it just feels very flat and routine, with very little in the way of charm, humor, or even horror.
Anton Yelchin of the Fright Night remake plays a major horror fan, working in a Halloween store. His girlfriend, on the other hand, is a serious-minded science lover. When she kills his horror buzz one too many times, he decides to break up with her. Before he can, she dies in an accident. And just when he’s moving on with the perfect horror-loving girl for him (Ashley Greene of Kristy, The Apparition, and the Twilight movies), his dead girlfriend comes back as a zombie, and she’s totally horny for him.
Here’s the big problem for me (other than the not funny or not charming enough part). The girlfriend isn’t likeable dead or alive, while Ashley Greene is totally loveable, but unfortunately, the majority of the film is about Anton trying to get rid of his ex. If that plot was handled somewhat entertainingly, I guess that would be all right. Instead, he spends the whole movie pussyfooting around the challenge while dodging his new girl as much as possible. The shining moment in the movie is the final battle, in which the ex turns full zombie (and sort of demon) and Anton and Ashley actually work together to get rid of the dead bitch.
On the bright side, there’s some nice round man butt early in the film, plus Dick Miller, a staple in Dante’s films, has a cameo.