What We Do in the Shadows is a new vampire mockumentary that brilliantly straddles the line between accessibility and quirkiness. The pitch-perfect black humor is tempered by a surprising level of tenderness, as well as some sharp observations about the stylized nature of “reality” television. It’s easily the funniest movie of 2015, and seems destined to join the ranks of other classic mockers like This Is Spinal Tap and Best in Show.
Dracula Untold is one of those misfires that’s not even memorably or enjoyably poor, just a monotonous distraction for an admittedly brisk hour and a half. The revisionist Maleficient-like interpretation of Dr. Acula as a heroic figure just doesn’t work with material like this that’s so miserably solemn and lacking in any stirring entertainment value. Only in one brief part of the final act does the film gain some goofy spark, and it’s fittingly when the film actually embraces its horror roots as a fully vampire Vlad turns a bunch of his people and they all go sharp-toothed upon the Turk forces. Of course, that’s all for naught as Gary Shore’s feature debut goes back to neutering Dracula’s bite in making him the lone ‘good guy’ among his suddenly all evil people, and concluding with a likely far too optimistic franchise tease: ending a film with “Let the games begin” almost feels like mockery when there’s been so little incentive offered to come back and play.
Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire trilogy The Strain has captured the imagination of horror fans since its 2009 release. Adapted as a comic by writer David Lapham (Stray Bullets) and artist Mike Huddleston, Dark Horse has just released the hardcover collection of the first 11 issues comprosing the first part of the trilogy. Working in close collaboration with Del Toro and Hogan, the comic book is not merely an illustrated novel but rather a visualization that captures the spirit and content of the book. This is an adaptation in the true sense of the word, building off the existing material and adjusting it to fit an entirely new medium.