We Are What We Are
Yes, yes, another American remake of a recent foreign film – except in this case, I haven’t seen the original so no need to open that cinematic wound (from what it looks like, drastic changes were made). In case you are not familiar with the story, We Are What We Are is the tale of a secluded family with strange customs. Not a spoiler: it’s cannibalism.
Meet the Parkers, your reclusive family whose lives are governed by their religious customs. When the matriarch suddenly passes away, it is up to the eldest daughter, Iris (Ambyr Childers) to take on her mother’s responsibilities, as governed by papa bear Frank (Bill Sage). Tensions rise as the children doubt their tradition, whilst townsfolk discover findings that may lead to the Parkers’ dirty little secret.
Compared to other cannibal flicks, We Are What We Are is pleasantly subdued. Met with an ideal color palate and tonal shifts, you have yourself a near perfect modern thriller, almost with it the potential to be this generation’s Silence of the Lambs. Director Jim Mickle also makes an applaudable use of overtonal montage in order to heighten suspense. Now if only the payoff was as good.
As mentioned, tension is a key dimension in this film – so when the climax hits, it ought to be good, right? For me, I felt that it was more ridiculous than shocking. When the first action hits, it’s excellent – then it kind of continues and feels silly and a little awkward. I mean, I get that this moment is supposed to be grotesque and raw, but it ultimately came off as a tad absurd.
Regardless, the turn (I hesitate to call it a “twist”) left some lingering thoughts, mainly about the construct of tradition versus choice – but as the title suggests, some things are just inevitable, and that is what makes this movie haunting.
We Are What We Are is a pleasantly simple little horror film. Perhaps I desired a bit more umph, or maybe more on the tradition than the just the origin – because really, how would a family like this create future generations in the modern age? There may not be that much depth, but it certainly leaves enough to the imagination.
Final Grade: B-