Spoilers for What We Do In The Shadows (2019-), cult description, and discussions of mental health, depression and existentialism.
What We Do In The Shadows or WWDITS (2019-) is a show about 3 vampires, 1 energy vampire and their familiar/bodyguard while a crew of cameramen record their adventures in the Island of Staten.
Nandor The Relentless (Kayvan Novak) the self appointed leader of the group that no one respects. Nadja of Antipaxos (Natasia Demetriou) Laszlo’s good lady wife who has had to fight her whole life and dislikes witches. Laszlo Cravensworth (Matt Berry) Nadja’s good husband ex-porn actor who just wants to have a good time.
Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) that boring guy you don’t know why you hate but just do.
And Guillermo de la Cruz (Harvey Guillén) , the servant turned bodyguard of Nandor, wants to become a vampire since he saw “Interview With The Vampire”.
WWDITS is characterized for its dark absurdist comedy, however season 3 pulls the rug from us in its third last episode.
Across season 3 we are given more insight than in the previously two season about the characters thoughts and feelings: Colin Robison talks about his desire to found more about energy vampires, Nadja about the difficulties of being a woman in power, Laszlo’s thoughts about what it means to be a friend, and Guillermo’s undying affection for the vampires while discovering how to stand up for himself. However Nandor’s take a special focus, as his quest for looking for someone or something to give meaning to his ever-lasting life is what changes the show.
In episode 8 “The Wellness Center” Nandor decides to take action and joins a cult that promises him to become human again. Is exactly in this episode that the tone of the show shifts from having an almost outgoing attitude about murder, gore and sex to a more serious look at mortality, mental health and found (read: reluctant) family.
But how does WWDITS shift its tone without loosing its charm as a show?
Tone in screenwriting is the mood or attitude that your writing portrays through the choice of words you use [...] It gives a message to the audience about how they should feel about what is happening. (freshmenscreenplay.com)
There are different ways that you can ‘shift the tone’. The following ones are gather from the next video essays: How to Make a Tonal Shift - Parasite and Shoplifters by Screened, Parasite Analysis — Bong Joon Ho's Mastery of Genre and Tone by Studio Binder, and How 'Parasite' Delivered One Of The Best Twists In Cinema | 10 Minutes of Perfection by Insider, and later applied to WWDITS.
These three videos explain how one cannot just subvert for the sake of subverting since it will become too jarring and ruin the story, therefore in the second part of this article I would explain step by step how episode 8th of WWDITS prepares us for the change and why it was necessary.
Ari Ochoa Petzold
is a Mexican-Venezuelan bi genderfluid writer. They like dancing to old music and history. In their free time you can find xem trying to coerce their friends to participate in another of their crazy projects.