Review: We Are What We Are will leave your stomach in knots

Ryan —  October 23, 2013 — 25 Comments

We-Are-What-We-Are1

It’s another remake, but it’s a brilliant one. Jim Mickle’s patience with We Are What We Are turns the film into a slow-burning nightmare that makes up in its lack of scares with a jaw-dropping final act that will leave you speechless. The film centers around the Parkers, a reclusive family who follow ancient customs, find their secret existence threatened as a torrential downpour moves into their area, forcing daughters Iris and Rose to assume responsibilities beyond those of a typical family.

We Are What We Are is a slow-burn in every sense of the meaning, creating a different kind of horror we don’t often get to see. When you tell a tale like this one, where it takes its time meandering through the story, it’s very important to keep the audience asking questions—otherwise we just get bored with it. What’s crazy about this flick is that Mickle manages to keep his story a mystery without even trying. The hints are there, but whether or not you figure out the film’s secret early on doesn’t really matter because nothing will prepare you for what Mickle has in store—and that’s what makes this flick so damn good.

When a film like this moves at such a slow pace it relies heavily on its characters, and while everyone did a fantastic job, Bill Sage absolutely steals each and every scene. Sage’s Frank Parker, the father in the film, is absolutely terrifying and has easily one of the most twisted minds the genre has seen in years. Sage puts a cold grip around your throat and never lets go as you see his character spiraling downwards and taking everything with it. He was a blast to watch and truly one of the scariest elements the film has to offer.

The film is surrounded by style and gloom as it takes place during a relentless downpour that leaves you feeling isolated and trapped with the Parkers. Its atmosphere alone creates a tension of its own and really brings this one to life. Sometimes the sound of rain hitting the rooftops can be calming, but not here, every drop is just a reminder of how very cold the film is, and that it’s headed towards a dark and twisted conclusion.

It doesn’t rely on a laundry list of jump-scares to fuel its horror because Mickle knows exactly where he wants us when we reach the finish line—and what a finish it is. He winds the film up into a tight rope of horror before letting it all unravel in its final blood-soaked moments. We Are What We Are is a uniquely twisted horror film that will leave your stomach in knots, and one of the very best genre films of the year.

4:5

Ryan

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I honestly believe that if you were ever attacked by a gorilla that you should just sit back and relax while you enjoy the once in a life time feeling of having each of your limbs ripped off.

25 responses to Review: We Are What We Are will leave your stomach in knots

  1. 

    Just received my copy of this movie. I did not realize it was a remake. Can’t wait to see this one. Good review!

  2. 

    Just finished my review of this after seeing it at the Toronto After Dark Film Fest and I loved it! Glad you loved it as much as I did! Such an outstanding film through and through…

  3. 

    Nice job Ryan, sounds good!!

    On a side note, not getting email notifications for you…..I click your button but it never changes…..Ill keep working on it. Hence my lack of visits, I figured you were taking a break!! Haha apologies dude!

    • 

      It’s great Tyson, I think you’ll dig it once you get the chance to check it out.

      As far as the notifications… they’re working for me (I followed myself to check) so I’m not sure what the problem is and if it’s even on your end. Maybe try un-following me through the “Edit Blogs I Follow” tab in the reader, then come back to my blog and re-follow. Worth a try I guess :/

  4. 

    Ryan, I just came across this movie yesterday online and added to my to watch-list; i now think I’m going to watch it tonight.

    • 

      Hell yeah! Hope you like it, man!

      • 

        I just finished watching it, and I thought it was decent. At least it wasn’t predictable. I have to say though, I wasn’t really shocked by the ending. It just kind of felt congruent with the rest of the story and the odd characteristics of the family; i think what the boy did to the lady earlier in the film prepared my brain so that when the ending took place the blow was softened. I mean I wasn’t expecting for that to happen, but I wasn’t really surprised, either. Overall, it was a pretty good film, but nothing great in my opinion, but I understand some others may think it is. It was pretty well-executed for the most part.

        I will tell you what you need to watch that is REALLY unexpected is “The Hidden Face”. The twist that is revealed midway through the movie you never see coming, and it’s not one of those twists that feels forced or unbelievable; it’s one of those twists that’s like, “Oooohhhh!” It’s probably the smartest twist I’ve ever seen in a movie. But be sure not to watch the trailer ahead of time b/c the twist is revealed!

        But come on man, give it a watch already b/c I’ve been telling you about this movie since January! lol. I’ve been wanting to know what you think about it; it’s still available on netflix streaming, so try to watch it soon. My b-day just passed. Happy Belated Birthday to me! Your gift to me can be watching this movie and letting me know what you think! lol. I wouldn’t be pushing you this hard if there wasn’t a great payoff. Just trust me on this one. I’m really hoping if you like it as much as I think you will then you will be inspired to write a review on your site and spread the word to others. :)

      • 

        Nice Gary! Sorry you didn’t like it as much as I did, but that’s film I guess! You’re right, the ending isn’t necessarily “surprising” in the grand scheme of things but it was still out of left field. I enjoyed it a lot and it really made up for some of the slower moments in the flick.

        Dude, I know you’ve been telling me to watch it for a while now. When I finally have time to sit down and watch a movie that one is usually nowhere near the top so I’ll have to fix that. I’ll try to watch it soon, I promise!

      • 

        Good deal.

        After seeing “We Are What We Are” I’m in the mood for some chili. lol.

  5. 

    Oh lovely review. I will have to check this one out!

  6. 

    Sounds good to me Ryan, seen a few decent reviews of this now. Nice review buddy.

  7. 

    Reblogged this on HORROR BOOM and commented:
    We trust Ryan (and Jim Mickles, the director of this well-reviewed remake of the 2010 Mexican film of the same name). Check this baby out!

  8. 

    I saw the movie last night, I knew early on what the parkers were about but the ending wow it was great! I didn’t see that coming.slow but it had to be to understand the storyline.

  9. 

    Sounds really interesting! I’m going to have to check that out pretty soon!

  10. 

    I’ve fallen behind.. where is this available to view?

  11. 

    Great review, Ryan! I’ve seen this awhile back and finally got around to writing a review of it. I hope you can sometime drop by. Anyway, one of the things that got me hooked with it, is its poetry, one of the better examples to cite is the opening sequence in which a leaf crashes downstream. It’s an intelligent portent of what tragedy will come, which is, essentially, the very uprooting of a tree. It also has powerful subtext, one that respected Grau’s biting Romero-like social commentary by resorting to an indifferent one concerning Christianity. The final moments of the film are most ghoulish, evocative of images that are gut-wrenching in the sense of what it tries to send across. Also, I noticed, it shares the same lyrical sensibility of Mickle’s previous work, “Stake Land.”

    • 

      Thanks, man! Totally agree. That ending was some powerful stuff and the biggest reason why the film works so well. It takes a wicked turn and never looks back. There is already a sequel in the works titled What We Were which will hopefully explore what happens to the sisters after these events.

      • 

        That’s quite a bit of news to hear, Ry. I think this film borrows the thematic fluency of Park Chan-wook’s “Stoker,” (the feminist sensibility, *see how the daughters changed their hair in the “Last Supper”-like conclusion* among other things) and a sequel can bring anything on the table, really. I’ll hope for the best, but in the end this film stands alone great. There’s that to celebrate. ;)

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