I was a little dubious about this one, another American remake of a film (Mexican this time) that perhaps doesn't really need remaking. I was sold by the fact it's directed by Jim Mickle, the man behind the excellent Stake Land (check it out). Well I'm glad I gave it a go, I felt We Are What We Are was a gritty, grisly horror/thriller and well worth the trip.
The plot focuses mainly on the Parker family, who live in a rural American town. After Mrs Parker passes away early on in the piece, we're left with the domineering father, Frank, with his two daughters and young son. There's something not quite right about this family though relating to Franks insistence on following some strange rituals. More is revealed about this as we go, prompted by a storm and flood and some curious locals.
I won't say anymore about the plot, I think it's better to go in fresh if you don't already know too much. What follows is a creepy, atmospheric, slow burning chiller - it's not fast paced and is not built on action set pieces but can bring a little carnage when required. The acting is of a good standard all round, especially surprisingly excellent turns from some of the younger cast members.
Recommended from me but perhaps don't watch it around mealtimes.
on 26 March 2014
We Are What We Are is a remake of the 2010 Mexican Horror film of the same name. While the original was a solid film in its own right, the remake improves many aspects of the original, I actually enjoyed both films as each gave us a similar plot but with a different perspective. After their mother dies in a tragic slip where she ends up drowning in a ditch, the young girls of the Parker Family are not only left to take care of their distraught father and oblivious younger brother, but to tend to the family traditions, most of which involved butchering young girls and eating them, because God says so. The Parker clan lives a simple life in the Catskills, serving God and doing their best to avoid notice. When the same torrential rainstorm that threw their ailing mother in a ditch starts washing old human bones downstream, the local Doctor (and Coroner?) starts to question just what is up with the clan, and if they had anything to do with the recent disappearance of his daughter. With a dead mother, a shaky and creepy dad, a nosy neighbor and the town Doctor and Police asking too many questions, the daughters of the Parker Family take up their duties and do their best to uphold a family tradition that really shows just how messed up their family is. Nastiness and uncomfortable dinner scenes ensue. Those who don't like slow burn films probably won't enjoy this film, some parts admittedly were a bit slow however it does improve during the second half as the tone of the film quickly becomes darker and more disturbing. The opening scene of the movie sets the tone and a fairly high quality bar for the movie. It all feels very sparse and simple, and never gets too over-complex, while at the same time weaving a pretty intricate tapestry of patriarchy, morals, and Religion around the horrifying practice of cannibalism. Everyone in the cast did an amazing job, and so it's hard to single out just a few of them for praise especially the two young daughters, I thought that the acting was definitely top notch. We Are What We Are is a macabre slice of cinema and is also a good mix of drama and horror. It may not be for everyone as it is a slow burn but there is true depth in here that is worth exploring.
‘We Are What We Are’ is a ‘remake’ of a Mexican horror film. Now, I haven’t seen the original, but – according to other reviewers who have – this new version only really borrows the basic source material and puts its own American spin on it. I can’t compare the two, but, as it began, I had high hopes for it.
It’s about a family in a small American town who, after the mother of the family dies suddenly, start to have to face up to life without her. This would be hard enough, but this family are also cannibals who believe in eating humans as part of their religion.
It’s a horror movie. However, in Hollywood it seems that there are only really two types of horror films these days – zombie outbreaks and Japanese-inspired ghosts who terrorise single parents. Perhaps I’ve got a bit too used to those two variations of the genre and couldn’t really appreciate this one. It doesn’t conform to many of today’s horror films. It’s well-shot, subtly acted and oozes brooding menace. These are all plus points for the film, but the only thing that struck me was how slow it was. After about half an hour I was praying for someone to impale someone else on a chainsaw. By an hour I was struggling to recall a single pertinent event at all!
Kelly McGillis deserves a special mention as the local doctor who figures that there’s more going on in this town than he can put his finger on, but, despite his excellent performance, it still doesn’t move things on as fast as I was hoping it would.
I hope I haven’t become completely immune to subtle horror, as, deep down, I know this film was actually quite good. I just wanted it to speed up a little bit more. You really have to be in the mood for something slow to sit down and watch this.
At time of writing I have not yet seen the original, which is strange for me because I have been aware of it since before the remake was made, and because I tend to always watch the original first. Due to reasons, the remake landing on my plate first so I decided to give it a go, especially when I saw that Jim Mickle was at the helm. For those who don't know, Mickle directed Stake Land - my vote for the best vampire movie of the decade so far. It's best if you go into this not knowing much about the story (as with all my reviews there are possible spoilers below) but if you are expecting some shocking gore fest, you should probably look away now.
Mickle uses another grimy pallet similar to the bland colours he has used previously, draining the world of all life aside from some starched, cardboard mockery. The world is always grey, always sodden, and there are few rays of light or smiles or moments which will make you feel any sort of hope for anyone involved. Naturally this all creates a bleary tone and an out of time sense as you feel like you are witnessing something that happened on a frontier a hundred years earlier than it is. Our central family dresses in a drab, timeless fashion for the most part, living on the outskirts of what could be an old Western mining facility rather than the small town that it actually is. Members of some apparent quaint religion, the two teenage sisters, young son, and grizzled father are struck by tragedy in the opening moments when the matriarch appears to have some sort of aneurysm and collapses, drowning in a puddle. As the film progresses we watch as the family struggles with this loss, try to come to terms with fulfilling the unspoken religious and cultural rites they have performed for generations, all while the townsfolk try to survive the seemingly apocalyptic storm which has been drenching them for weeks. We meet a local doctor, sheriff, deputy, and a neighbour, and slowly we learn about the town's penchant for losing its inhabitants or people who try to pass through. It soon becomes clear that the family is involved in this somehow, and that the townspeople are closing in on the truth.
It's difficult to talk about things like performances, plot, music, for a film which is so ruled by its bleak and grim visuals and tone. However, the actors are all uniformly strong, feeling like real people torn by their pasts and presents. Michael Parks is as good as ever in the role of the suspicious, mourning doctor, and Bill Sage is suitably domineering as the father. It's the two daughters who stand out, Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers as the reluctant girls forced into following their traditions, not fully understanding why they must do the things they do, but knowing enough to see how terrible it is. Kelly McGillis returns from Stake Land and continues her interesting resurgence. It is a cold tale from Mickle, and another that shows he is a force to be reckoned with, being possibly the most lyrical director in horror today. Those expecting a tale of blood and guts will be disappointed - this is a slow burning drama based on atmosphere, based on the looks between characters rather than decapitations and the like, and while there are a few scenes of blood and guts these only work thanks to the chilling tone which has been set up. One to watch on a cold dark night after a good meal.
on 7 November 2014
Slow moving but captivating, slightly suspenseful and somewhat Gothic, the Family History sub-Plot unfolds suggestively without any need for over-the-top, hard-hitting Blood & Guts shockers, whilst a remote, grey & gloomy back-drop adds to the deathly feel of this well acted Movie... don't make the mistake of eating an Evening Meal as the conclusion approaches....
on 18 December 2015
Personally, I think it's a good idea to watch this film without knowing the details of the plot, so with that said, I liked it! The concept is unique, dark and creepy! It isn't a gory or jumpy horror but instead relies on a pretty twisted storyline! It got 4 stars from me because it is a little on the predictable side and there are a few plot holes, but other than that I think it's a good film!
If you don't mind a few plot revealers, then continue reading.
Take the Batman films! Now, replace Gotham with a small American town. Replace Batman with a fairly portly bearded father figure. And replace Batman's style of vigilante justice with murderous Biblical Christian justice! Mix this with horror film style directing and you kinda get what this film is about!
The plot revolves around this Christian Batman and his struggles in grooming his son and daughters to continue with his radical sinner fighting traditions, and also the attempts of the authorities in bringing him down! I'd say it's well worth a watch!
on 11 April 2015
This is definitely not a horror movie.
This is a thriller with some VERY horrific, graphic scenes in it, especially in the last few minutes of the film - I am not squimish and have watched plenty of gory and explicit scenes, but I could not help gagging at that point.
Very good performances. Extremely unsavoury topic - wholly reality based. Generally horrific.
Avoid if you are impressionable.
on 30 April 2015
This is a good film that's certainly very watchable in comparison to a lot of the other horror movies available on Amazon Prime. "We Are What We Are" seems to be based on the Sawney Bean legend or similar stories and was thus it was interesting to watch from that perspective, I could really have done without watching the last few minutes though.
on 6 July 2015
really disturbing, you know you are in a twisted place from the beginning but still....
on 23 April 2014
As the title suggests, I feel that We Are What We Are is for the most part a drama with horror elements. I love horror, from slow burners to in your face gorefests. Because I watch a lot, I find I have seen a lot of duds, but I was pleasantly surprised by this film. In my opinion, the reason this is so good, is because of the acting, direction and score. The story has been done and as most will know, this is a remake of a Mexican film so nothing really original, but horror rarely has such good acting as this, especially the 2 girls, who are excellent. Also the music is beautifully crafted, eerie and fits perfectly in each scene, again a rarity in horror (usually just loud noises and a bit of atmosphere here and there). The director has put a lot of detail and care into the sets and scenes and this creates a great atmosphere.
In summary this is not going to keep the attention of someone looking for scares, guts and fast action horror, but if you are looking for a creeping, tense horror, made with skill and attention to detail then you will probably enjoy this film.
Although a Blu Ray release would have been nice!