Orange Wednesday: Close (2019) and What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

What We Do In The Shadows

Every Wednesday, TMINE reviews two movies and infringes a former mobile phone company’s trademarked marketing gimmick

Yes, three weeks in a row. Can you believe it? What consistency! Fingers crossed, I won’t be replaced by a meerkat at this rate.

Anyway, time to review not one but two whole movies again. This week, we’ll look at one of Netflix’s latest efforts, Close, in which Noomi Rapace plays a bodyguard who has to protect a young heiress. And following on from last week’s look at Das Boot, I’ll be catching up with another movie that’s imminently going to air a TV sequel: What We Do In The Shadows (2014).

Both of those after the jump.

Close (2019)
Sophie Nélisse and Noomi Rapace in Close (2019)

Close (2019)

Noomi Rapace is a much sought after bodyguard who’s hired to look after the heir to a mining fortune (The Book Thief‘s Sophie Nélisse) when she goes to Morocco. But it looks like step-mum Indira Varma (Rome, Torchwood) might have murderous intentions when a team of killers breaks into their mountain fortress, forcing Rapace and Nélisse to go on the run.

To be honest, apart from solid performances from everyone, there’s not much to this. There’s some lovely photography of Morocco, to be sure. Rapace proves she’s tier one action talent and Nélisse shows she can be more than a damsel in distress. There are also the usual trappings of more cerebral action movies, including bilingualism and the occasional bit of thought in how to stay low when you’re on the run.

But the fight scenes have just a veneer of smartness and realism that doesn’t go too deep, with people being shot and stabbed in arteries without seeming to notice, and top-tier female bodyguards not using the numerous options available for hurting/killing bigger men since it’ll prolong the action longer if they don’t. You’ll spot the twists coming a mile off and what plotting there is doesn’t make much sense at all.

Nice to see a female-led action movie, but some originality might have been nice.

What We Do In The Shadows
Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh and Jemaine Clement in What We Do In The Shadows

What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

New Zealand-set mockumentary in Taika Waititi (Green Lantern), Jonathan Brugh and Jemaine Clement (Legion) play house-sharing vampires who have to deal with the intricacies of modern vampire and human societies, as well as the arrival on the scene of neophyte vampire Cori Gonzalez-Macuer and some werewolves led by Rhys Darby (Jumanji).

Obviously, WWDITS has a bit of a cult following – please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me – so I went into this expecting… well, I’m not sure. Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok is absolutely hilarious, but the trailer for WWDITS… isn’t, so I kept my expectations low.

And while I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t Thor-funny, it was certainly better than I feared it wouldn’t be. To be honest, I actually enjoyed it more as a regular vampire movie than as a comedy. There are plenty of jokes, to be sure, about 50% of which work, about 50% of which are predictable. But the best elements aren’t due to the three central vampire characters at all, but are thanks to the supporting cast, particularly Stu (Stu Rutherford), a human who teaches the vampires how to use computers and the Internet, which puts a fun twist on similar behaviours in Blade and Ultraviolet. The mockumentary format works well, too, particularly when the script remembers there must be a camera crew involved for there to be such a documentary, and the visit of Wellington Paranormal‘s police is entertaining, too.

But for the most part, it’s more interesting when it’s embracing horror and playing with the tropes. You go in expecting some not especially vampirish vampires and you actually get ones that kill, turn into bats, don’t have reflections, can fly, fight with werewolves, can hypnotise, have familiars and more. Similarly, jokes about ‘we’re werewolves not swearwolves’ raise a slight titter, but when they’re murderous killing machines, I actually enjoyed the movie a lot more.

Not bad, not as good as I’d hoped, but not as bad as I’d feared.

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