MOVIE REVIEW: We Are What We Are

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Film: We Are What We Are
Director: Jim Mickle
Writers: Nick Damici, Jim Mickle
Starring: Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner

Every family has their own rituals. Usually these are things that have been passed down generation to generation and more often than not it takes form as a recipe for a holiday, or a certain way of doing a specific thing. These traditions are part of a family’s history and are key to understanding one’s origin, but what happens when that tradition is something that is now considered taboo or evil?

We Are What We Are tells the story of the Parkers, a rustic family living in the mountains, as they deal with the loss of their mother. The family seems normal, with two teenage daughters and a rather quiet young boy being left in the care of their father, but when a flood washes a slew of human remains down the river that runs alongside the family’s home, it soon becomes clear that the Parkers are hiding something sinister from the rest of the world.

While it may be a remake of a mexican film We Are What We Are does not go the way of most horror adapted from foreign films. This movie is quite successful and entertaining in its own right. The atmosphere of the desolate woods during the flood season is perfectly captured with foreboding establishing shots and a cozy home that contrasts the family’s macabre meal plan. This film is a perfectly example of a slow burn, building at its own pace until reaching a climactic conclusion that spirals out of control at a breakneck pace. You know it’s coming, at least you should, but when it happens the payoff is even better than I can begin to describe.

Usually with young actors you have to suspend some disbelief as they are not always that convincing but with We Are What We Are the acting is spot on all around. The father is portrayed perfectly stern and yet still vulnerable. Each kid has their own personality but still remain a cohesive family unit in their mannerisms. Every scene is slow and deliberate with the acting taking a subtle route instead of making things obvious as most hollywood horror does.

Before you rush to rent this film, it’s worth noting that some may be put off by the slow nature of this story. To be honest it may not even seem like a horror film at all until you are a ways into the film, but if you stick with it the rewards are aplenty. Instead of throwing a bunch of gore and tension at you from the get-go We Are What We Are builds on itself slowly like a great stew. It takes its time to develop its flavor and while the end result may be delicious some may not want to put in the time and effort to get to the result. Instead of the canned soup most have become accustomed to through mediocre studio scares, We Are What We Are is your grandma’s chicken noodle, and I would rather have that any day of the week.

Score: A-

Review written by: Justin Proper

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