We Are What We Are
Directed by Jim Mickle
Starring Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner
Review by Jordan
I’m not sure if the crimes committed by the tragically ritualistic characters in Jim Mickle’s We Are What We Are are intended to be a secret to the audience, perhaps the slow build-up of tension and mysterious opening death indicate they are, regardless of this however anyone that has seen the Spanish original (Jorge Michel Grau, 2010) or Antonia Bird’s deviously humorous Ravenous (1999) will know from the offset what they’re in store for, and if you’re entering this world anticipating a brooding family drama only without hints of gore or horror it’s likely that you don’t give thought to a film’s narrative before watching it (note: this is often a good thing).
In short, what I’m unsuccessfully trying to say is that this remarkably bleak yet tremendously mounted American horror film joins the ranks of Lucky McKee’s The Woman (2011) as well as Jack Ketchum’s preceding novels Offseason and Offspring, the aforementioned Ravenous and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989) as one of the most accomplished modern works featuring everyone’s favourite taboo subject; cannibalism…
Charting the demise of a rural, close-knit family whose foundations begin to fall apart when it’s matriarch suddenly, and violently dies during the terrible rain season, Jim Mickle’s tale of the ties-that-bind and unfounded tradition further underlines him as one of the most underrated directors in the business, having previously helmed the fun and chaotic Mulberry Street (2006) and sprawling vampire fable Stake Land (2010). His timing and sense of atmosphere are terrific, both helped in large by emotionally complex performances from Bill Sage as domineering father and grieving husband Frank, Julia Garner as second oldest daughter Rose and ever-reliable cult actor Michael Parks (From Dusk ‘till Dawn, Red State) as the determined Doc Barrow; all involved so clearly believing in the grim material they’re a part of. Some unnecessary flashbacks and the occasional plot contrivance do remind us that it is adhering somewhat to formula, and the motivations of the Parker family’s eldest daughter Iris are never properly explored (a shame since she is arguably the most important character), but when the rain clears it’s obvious to see how wonderfully dark We Are What We Are is.
A word I’ve heard numerous times to describe this chilling outing is “boring;” needless to say even if the twisted plot moved at snails pace (it doesn’t) the crisp cinematography in itself is enough to hold interest, which paired with modestly menacing music and score helps to create another world set apart from recognisable America.
Moody, thrilling and ultimately surprising, We Are What We Are may at times be hard to stomach, but for those that like their horror with a bit of meat on its bones, it is quite essential.
4 hearty stews out of 5
Sound interesting as do the directors other movies! Cheers Jordan!
Ah my pleasure mate, ha. Stake Land is definitely worth a watch for a serious minded Vampire film.
Loved this film, going to pick up the Bluray! Awesome post :).
Yeah me too for sure! Glad you agree with the review Joseph.
I have not heard of this film until literally just now with your review… how?
Ha I don’t know mate but I recommend it!
I thought this was more of a dramatic story than a horror one. Quite powerful I have to say!
Yeah I think you’re right there, until that unexpected and pretty confronting ending ha. I really appreciated the deliberate pacing.
Haha the ending was pretty awesome and funny! It was a very good movie indeed! 😉
Been debating whether or not I want to see this. Now perhaps I’ll say I do.
Yeah if your ever in the mood for something a little dark give it a watch for sure.
I really enjoyed Stake Land – and think it’s a tad underrated – so i’m looking forward to watching this.
Great review Jordan, you’ve piqued my interest!
Ah glad to hear it! I hope you enjoy it if you get around to seeing it!
Thanks for bringing it to my attention.. Gotta download this now.
Good review 🙂
Ha no worries mate, enjoy!
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I really want to see this movie. Even though I already know the big reveal I still want to see how it plays out. Great review!
Ah thats a shame that you know the ending, but it is definitely still more than worthy of checking out!
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