Parody is difficult to pull off because often it appears as simply mean-spirited, as demonstrating a lack of understanding for the original, or just stupidly needless. The same can happen to the mystery thriller when given the supernatural twist. When comedy and suspense are infused properly into a horror premise the result it pleasing.
What We Do In The Shadows
What We Do in the Shadows is a great mock documentary about a group of vampires simply living day-to-day in New Zealand. Resisting the urge to be a send-up, writers/directors and stars Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement create a deadpan comedy. This film rivals any of Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries in terms of cleverness, and I would contend it is as charming as Drop Dead Gorgeous.
What also works well about WWDITS is that is has a clear story arc rather than just a sequence of events presented in the reality show manner. Having a clear narrative allows the film to move away from merely being cute to being genuinely funny.
A brilliant comedy especially for vampire story fans.
Stir of Echoes
I missed Stir of Echoes when it came out in 1999, but my wife recommended it for this project. It turns out this film is a solid ghost tale wedded to madness. Think, at the time, it got lost in the noise created by The Sixth Sense. While certainly not as good as The Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes is no slouch of a film. It parses out its details in a deliberate yet steady manner, doesn’t linger too long on the unnecessary, and has some surprisingly good special effects that, again, it deploys judiciously.
While the actual haunting spirit (a young Jennifer Morrison best know for House and Once Upon A Time) makeup is a bit weak and the extraneous magical black man trope used to explain what’s happening to the audience, the vast majority of the film works quite well.
A good blend of haunting, possession, and psychic horror.