My friends, vampires live among us. They are very real, and are dealing with some very serious issues. Each year, we lose more and more of these children of the night thanks to vampire hunters inspired by Abraham Lincoln and his sort, and the violence must end. To put a face on these possessors of the dark gift, we have been given a documentary from New Zealand, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS.

The documentary focuses on a flat where four vampires live; Viago, Deacon, Vladislav (“Vlad the Poker” as he was once known), and Petyr. As we observe their day-to-day, we watch them deal with normal vampire worries – like trying to pick out clothes when you have no reflection in the mirror, or trying to keep your furniture clean when every meal you have involves spilling blood everywhere. On top of that though, we learn first-hand that being undead doesn’t preclude them from the mundane. To that end we learn how to deal with what happens when one flatmate doesn’t do the dishes for many years, or how to cope with your immortal ex-girlfriend taunting you online.

Where the film gets really wild is when the vampires interact with us mere mortals. So for starters, there’s Morana – who is Deacon’s mortal Girl Friday. She’s been his follower for four years already, and has dutifully taken care of his dry cleaning, his gardening…really anything an immortal could need in their day-to-day. Through it all, she has patiently been waiting to be turned into one herself. Deacon, meanwhile, seems non-commital. Likewise there is Stuart, who is the friend of the gang’s newest addition, Nick. Stuart brings the group into the 21st century, introducing them to things like digital cameras and Facebook.

Of course, as well-intentioned as Stuart is, technology and vampires may or may not be the best of bedfellows.

This film was a truly joyous way to end my festival experience. There is a lot of heart here and a lot of really sharp comedy. From Bram Stoker to Stephanie Meyer we have been told a lot of stories about vampires. Some of them have been true, many of them have been bald-faced lies. Seeing firsthand the sort of stresses they go through, and the true challenges that come with being a bloodsucker really takes the shine off the apple. We understand for the fist time that it isn’t all capes and coffins…and that finding a dinner that nobody has tampered with yet isn’t all that easy.

At the end of the day, there really is nothing else to say except that WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS is the Kiwi CITIZEN KANE.