Follow TV Tropes


Characters / What We Do in the Shadows

Go To

Characters from the film What We Do in the Shadows.

For characters from the series, go here.

    open/close all folders 

The Flatmates

    The Main Cast in general
  • Affably Evil: All the four "flatmates" are this to some degree.
  • Cursed with Awesome: They don't mind being vampires. Aside from the few inconveniences, they seem to enjoy their (un)lives. Nick's biggest complaint is that he can no longer eat chips/fries without getting violently ill.
    Nick: Don't believe the hype.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: With occasional exceptions, the vampires still hold fast to the trends from their respective time periods.
  • Reluctant Monster: They truly wish to inflict no harm. They kill humans mostly out of the need to eat, and try to give their victims a good time before killing them.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Deacon was a Nazi at one point and Vlad is okay with slavery.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The ages of each vampire generally correlate with their personality and appearance.
    • The just under two-hundred-year-old Deacon looks and acts like a moody twenty-something.
    • The close to four-hundred-year-old Viago looks and acts like an uptight thirty-something.
    • The over eight-hundred-year-old Vladislav looks and acts like a bitter middle-aged man.
    • The eight-thousand-year-old Petyr looks and acts like a decrepit old man.
    • The very recently turned Nick acts childish at his best, and like a moody teenager at his worst. He mostly uses his new powers to play around and brag to everyone he meets, with no concern for the secrecy needed to protect them all.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Living in the shadows leaves them out of touch with advances in technology. Fortunately, Stu is there to help.
  • Vampire Vords: Deliberately invoked with Vladislav, Deacon, and Viago.
  • Villain Protagonist: Considering they are vampires who remorselessly kill humans.


Played by: Taika Waititi

Aged 379, Viago fancies himself a dandy and a gentleman. He is also more than a little uptight.

  • Affably Evil: Is a murdering vampire, but also a sweet, easygoing guy who generally maintains peace in the flat and tries to get on with everyone. He’s also extraordinarily nice and polite to his unsuspecting victims, since he believes that their last moment alive before he bites into their throat and sucks them dry should be a pleasant one.
  • Camp Straight: Is very effeminate, to the point of being described by Vladislav as The Dandy, but he still holds a candle for a woman he fell in love with decades ago.
  • The Dandy: He's explicitly referred to as this by Vladislav.
    Vladislav: He was an 18th-century dandy, so he can be very fussy.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He admits that he wanted to kill Katherine's husband and take her away but thought that she seemed too happy, and so he stepped back to leave her in peace.
  • Nice Guy: Is also surprisingly chipper and friendly for a three-hundred-year-old bloodsucker.
  • Team Mom: Tries to organize household chores, wakes everyone up in the evening in a very sweet and motherly fashion, and seems to take care of Petyr.
    • In an interview, Waititi refers to Viago as the mother of the group, while Vladislav is the dad, and Deacon is the teenage son. He also says that his portrayal of Viago was partially based on his own mother.


Played by: Jemaine Clement

Aged 862, he was once an infamous tyrant known as "Vlad the Poker".

  • Beast with a Human Face: Just hasn't been the same since he lost his fight with The Beast — he used to be able to change into any animal, but now he never gets the faces right. Specifically, he turns into a black cat with a tiny human face.
  • Badass Baritone: Speaks with an imposing baritone.
  • Badass Decay: Invoked. He was once one of the most feared and powerful vampires in the world, but after a battle with his arch-foe "The Beast" he became a shell of his former self. Viago notes that both Vladislav's transformation and hypnotic abilities have weakened considerably since he was in his prime.
  • Expy: His appearance, medieval origins and nickname ("Vladislav the Poker") suggest that he is based on Vlad the Impaler. Clement has also stated that he based his performance on Gary Oldman's Dracula; one scene has him putting his hair up in the same dual bun that Oldman wore.
  • The Hedonist: Moreso than anyone in the group, he wants to constantly have sex and kill sometimes for the fun of it.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He is generally somewhat surly and low energy, but is otherwise fairly easygoing and open-minded.
  • Just for Pun: Demands to be left alone to do his evil bidding - specifically he's bidding on a table on eBay.
  • Looks Like Cesare: Has the pale skin, long scraggly black hair and sunken eyes to fit this trope to a T, though his mustache is also evocative of Vlad the Impaler's.
  • Meaningful Name: They used to call him "Vlad the Poker" because he used to "poke people with implements".
  • Power Incontinence: After his defeat against "The Beast", the blow to his self-confidence has rendered his powers on the fritz. This manifests in his inability to shapeshift fully, routinely getting the faces wrong.
  • Retired Monster: Was once one of the most feared vampires around. A bad encounter with the monster called The Beast, his ex-girlfriend, has left him pretty broken down.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Deacon's narration reveals that Vladislav, in his old days, would kill anybody: men, women and children.
  • Younger than They Look: Parodied. He was apparently made into a vampire when he was sixteen years old and remains physically sixteen as a result. Despite this, Vladislav is played by Jemaine Clement, who was forty at the time and definitely doesn't look that young. He claims this wasn't at all uncommon in his time. He could be lying, however.


Played by: Jonathan Brugh

At age 183, he is the "young rebel" of the group who is fond of knitting, erotic dancing, and "being cool".

  • Ghostapo: He was apparently a member of a "secret Nazi vampire army".
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's lazy, smug and a Bad Boss to Jackie, and, not least, a former Nazi and completely unrepentant about this fact, but like the rest of the gang, enjoys Stu's company. Later on, when Petyr catches fire, he's the first to try and rush in and save him despite the strong chance of getting killed. And towards the end of the movie, he tries to console Nick after Stu (temporarily) dies at the hands of the werewolves.
  • Lazy Bum: He's bad at doing his chores around the apartment.
  • Retired Monster: Used to be a Nazi, and was part of an initiative to train vampire commandos for the Third Reich. He fled to New Zealand when the war ended, but he's still a pretty big Jerkass.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Specifically says that he doesn't want Jackie to bring children for them to feed on.


Played by: Ben Fransham

A 8,000-year-old vampire who lives in the basement of the house and generally keeps to himself.

  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dies protecting his flatmates from the vampire hunter.
  • Hidden Depths: Petyr is smarter and more aware than the three other flatmates, and is a lot kinder than he seems, despite his appetite.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: His sparing of Nick and turning him into a vampire ultimately leads to his demise.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Not all apparent, but it's there. He's growly, surly, very literally monstrous, and turns innocent people into vampires, but oddly enough he seems to like to look out for those he's turned; he's still buds with Deacon centuries after turning him, and he's quick to help new vampire Nick adjust to the lifestyle (and agreeing not to turn Stu, since Stu is a vegetarian).
  • Looks Like Orlok: He looks much more like Nosferatu compared to the other vampire flatmates, with his paler skin, bald head, pointier ears and more prominent fangs. This is seemingly due to his immense age (8,000 years old), which makes sense since the trope is meant to harken back to older depictions of vampires.
  • The Older Immortal: Petyr is around 8,000 years old, and looks much more like older, Nosferatu-style vampires compared to any other vampire we see. He is also heavily implied (and in the cases of Deacon and Nick, outright confirmed) to have been responsible for turning every single one of the main four into vampires.
  • Pet the Dog: Is by far the most antisocial of the bunch. But when Nick explains that he shouldn't turn Stu because he's a vegetarian, Petyr nods in understanding. He also "saves" Nick from death when the other three are "playing with their food" for shits and giggles; Petyr isn't a fan of bullying, it seems.
  • The Voiceless: Doesn't speak at all and seems basically animalistic (preferring to talk in hissing and screeching noises), though Deacon's account of when Petyr turned him into a vampire implies that he can speak.


Other Characters


Played by: Cori Gonzalez-Macuer

An intended victim who is turned into a vampire when he is attacked by Petyr. He has turned into something of a occasionally recurring character on the spin-off series Wellington Paranormal.

  • Bad Liar: In Wellington Paranormal, Nick manages to repeatedly run afoul of Wellington's local police force (most commonly Minogue and O'Leary), because he is often up to something shady and isn't very good at being subtle about it. His attempts at coming up with cover stories for his abnormal and weird behavior manage to be even worse, and he is often only able to get away with all the clearly illegal stuff he does due to his Compelling Voice.
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Tells just about everyone he meets that he's a vampire, something that is actually governed by a weak Masquerade.
  • Everything Is Racist: When he is arrested by Officers Minogue and O'Leary in Wellington Paranormal, he insists to the camera that it must be out of racism against him because he is a non-white minority and a vampire, while emphatically denying that it has anything to do with them catching him hanging around a cemetery in the middle of the night with 19 blood bags stolen from a local hospital in his backpack.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: In Wellington Paranormal, Nick occasionally runs into officers Minogue and O'Leary, usually when he is in the middle of doing something weird and/or very shady. While by this point he has learned not to babble to everyone about being a vampire, he cannot tell a convincing lie to save his life, often insisting to them with little to no provocation that whatever he is doing is perfectly normally and definitely not criminal, and he is completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Luckily for Nick, his Compelling Voice ability and Minogue and O'Leary's own strong Weirdness Censor tends to keep them from noticing that something's off. Case in point, when they spot Nick and a small group of other men wearing black robes and wielding torches in a public park, while chanting and walking in circles around a clearly scared and naked man tied to a pole, in the dead of night.
    O'Leary: What are you guys doing here in the middle of the night?
    Minogue: It's... it's almost midnight, guys.
    Nick: We're just... um... chanting. Just... normal chanting stuff.
    Minogue: So what's going on here? Are you guys, havin-havin' a drink, are you?
    Nick: Yeah, I guess you could say that.
    O'Leary: What's with the, uh... the cloaks?
    Nick: Oh, that's... um... just role-playing. Like, a Dungeons & Dragons thing.


Played by: Stu Rutherford

Nick's best friend, and a mortal.

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Everybody likes him, though a few just like him because he looks tasty.
  • The Ace: Despite (or maybe because of) being The Everyman, everyone loves Stu. He wins over the vampires much faster than Nick, helps them connect to the internet world for the first time in their lengthy lives, stabs a vampire in the chest with little trouble, survives a werewolf attack, and even seems to be on his way to becoming their new Alpha Male within two months.
  • As Himself: Stu is played by Stuart Rutherford, a part-time business analyst for the Wellington company LanWorx who happens to have been Taika Waititi's flatmate for several years. He wasn't aware that he'd be playing a major part, and was actually told he'd been brought on to do some computer work for the filming crew, with him playing only a minor part on the side as an added deal.
  • Badass Normal: Manages to navigate through the supernatural community with ease despite being the only human in the main cast until the ending.
  • The Danza: Stu is played by Stu Rutherford. invoked
  • Morality Pet: He is the only human who the vampires won't think about killing and even try to protect, with even Petyr promising not to harm him.
  • Nice Guy: Is quiet, polite and affable and so nice even a Jerkass like Deacon takes a liking to him. So much so that not only do the werewolves like him, but he actually manages to bring the two groups together with their mutual love of Stu.
  • Skewed Priorities: Such a nice guy that after staking the Beast's lover to save Vladislav's life and putting himself in mortal danger, his only concern is "I hope this doesn't make things awkward for you and the Beast."
  • The Stoic: Has very little dialogue despite being present in very confusing or dangerous situations. He's just that chill.
  • Token Human: He's not anyone's familiar, but the main characters like him so much that they let him stay.
  • The Quiet One: Just keeps to himself.

Played by: Jackie van Beek

Deacon's beleaguered familiar, who is mainly tasked with finding potential victims for the vampires to feed on, and then cleaning up after them.

  • Mama Bear: She tells her children to get away from Deacon when he shows up at her house.
  • The Renfield: The long-suffering Jackie is Deacon's "familiar", taking care of the flatmates' affairs in order to — eventually — be turned into a vampire.
  • Vampire Vannabe: She is starting to get pissed over Deacon's lame excuses to not turn her yet. Eventually, she gets so fed up that she quits and convinces Nick to turn her on the way out, much to Deacon's irritation.

    "The Beast"

Played by: Elena Stejko

A mysterious figure from Vladislav's past.

  • A Beast in Name and Nature: Subverted; despite the fearsome name and reputation Vlad credits her with, she's a lot less unpleasant than is claimed.
  • The Dreaded: The Beast, a.k.a. Vladislav's nemesis, is accompanied by ominous music and imagery whenever brought up, as well as images of a horrifying creature that is a melding of a human and several other animals. Turns out she's a relatively normal-looking vampire, and Vladislav's ex-girlfriend.
  • Mad Love: To say her relationship with Vlad is rocky is an understatement.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Turns out to be a woman in the final act.
  • Sex with the Ex: They are shown attempting to rekindle their relationship at the end, though it seems more like a booty call.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: Is introduced as The Dreaded, but once we actually meet her, it's made clear that Vlad's side of the story is heavily biased, as she doesn't seem more malicious than any other vampire introduced so far.
  • Wall Bang Her: How she and Vlad usually have sex.

    The Werewolves

Played by: Rhys Darby (Anton)

A local pack of werewolves who have a low-key rivalry with the vampires.

  • Affably Evil: Especially their Alpha, Anton.
  • Alpha and Beta Wolves: The werewolves have a rigid hierarchy led by an "alpha" who tells the other ones what to do, makes them laugh at his jokes, etc.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: They're basically a parody of New Age, back-to-nature support groups.
  • Fur Against Fang: They hold something of a low-key rivalry with the Flatmates, pushing each other's buttons while avoiding actual violence in what seems to be a jingoistic rivalry between species. With Stu's induction into the pack, the ending implies that a truce will be made.
  • Gosh Darn It to Heck!: As part of their support group, they have sworn off cursing. "We're werewolves, not swear-wolves!"
  • Non-Malicious Monster: They truly wish to inflict no harm. They cannot help it when transformed, engaging in breathing exercises to calm down and stop themselves transforming, and going as far as to chain themselves to trees during the full moon.
  • Working-Class Werewolves: The werewolves are all seen wearing modest working-class clothing and look fairly average when they are not operating as a pack. This is in contrast to the various vampires, who, while they are not that much better off, try to live up to their aristocratic heritage in their flamboyant dress and behavior.

Alternative Title(s): What We Do In The Shadows 2014