We Are What We Are (2013)
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This is how you do a horror film everybody.
Unlike the storm in the film, Hollywood has been in a serious Horror drought for at least a decade. Sure, American films like "The Conjuring" and even "Cabin in the Woods" have been successes, but with only a film or two a year coming out from the states in the mainstream horror fans have to reach deep to find the films they crave. Luckily for us, Jim Mickle is the next big thing. I've read that his film "Stakeland", which I'll be watching tonight probably, is vastly superior than the film I just watch and if that is true then it may end up on my favorite horror films list because I loved We are What We are. Mickle has a film out currently in "Cold in July" which I'm going to try to catch before it leaves theaters. Either way, horror has a new stalwart and his name is Jim Mickle.
This film is very tough to describe without giving away too many key plot points so this review may be a bit short. That being said, this movie is on Netflix so you have no excuse not to watch it. Please do. The story revolves around a family of religious practices that are far from your average family. Think Ned Flanders meets Misery. The father, played masterfully by Bill Sage, is a very stoic and serious man who seems to have his daughters scared shitless. Besides Sage, Childers and Garner are fantastic as the two daughters who are stuck trying to figure out what is right and what is good for the family. Michael Parks rounds it out as the town doctor who starts getting wind of what is going on.
The story, which is flawless in most parts with a few instances of slack, is one of the more unique and compelling stories I've seen in horror. The film is actually a remake, but the same screenwriter from the original Spanish film reprises his work here. Couple the story with Mickle's amazing knack for the camera and you have a slow burn film that glows with intensity at just the right moments. The scares are earned. The shock is true. These are the most important elements for horror in my eyes. The whole point is to be scared no? I have a friend who delivered mail for years. After a while he got so used to dogs jumping on the door when he would walk up and scaring the shit out of him that he lost the ability to be frightened. For me, this is most of horror films. I've seen the same tactics used over and over again that the whole reason I'm watching the film in the first place is lost. This film does't do that. It challenges you to pay attention and then when you're deep in the feel of the movie, Mickle hits you with the scares. It's a detailed and methodically timed film. It also packs one of the best endings to a film I've seen in a long time. I was slack jawed by the end of it.
Do yourself a favor and watch this film. It's a diamond in a ruff sea of garbage that is the horror genre.
We Are What We Are, director Jim Mickle's followup to the criminally underrated Stake Land, is, true to form, a highly competent, very creepy, lowkey horror film. The initial reveal is a little too drawn out given that anyone who's read a plot summary, seen the poster, or has the most basic of deductive reasoning skills knows exactly what's going on from the film's first moments, however the beautiful cinematography, nuanced lead performances, and refreshingly sinister tone make every moment worthwhile, and the climax is truly shocking and fittingly dark. Mickle and Damici can do no wrong, and I cannot wait to see Cold In July.
Mmm, you'll never eat a bowl of beef stew the same way again.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!