We Are What We AreWe Are What We Are begins with a gloriously overproduced storm, filled with clear raindrops and fallen leaves running into a small and muddy river, setting the tone for the drama to come. The rain stampedes through a forest and into a clearing, revealing a small, whitewashed farmhouse. The house belongs to the Parkers, and we are about to learn some of the family secrets.
We Are What We Are is a horror film, but a beautifully rendered one, light on the gore and heavy on religious fervor and mood. It’s a reboot of the 2010 Mexican film Somos lo que hay, and while it maintains the general premise of the original story, director Jim Mickle has brought his tale into the United States and centered it around a domineering father figure (Bill Sage). During the torrential rainstorm at the beginning of the movie, tragedy strikes father Frank, as well as his three children, Iris (Ambyr Childers), Rose (Julia Garner) and Rory (Jack Gore), when Mother Parker dies. This leads Frank to force his eldest two children to perform a set of rituals based on a horrifying family tradition.
Those reading this review may have gotten a chance to see the film when it was given a limited release in theaters back in September. A tiny theatrical release means many who might come across this review have not been given the opportunity to catch the film on the big screen, and it’s one of those films that is at its best when it still offers a bit of shock value. Upon second viewing, however, a lot of lovely camera angles and shots should be a treat for viewers, and it should become clear how nuanced performances from Kelly McGillis and Michael Parks actually are. The film is never short on atmosphere, offering plenty of tension thanks to nearby neighbors and the world’s creepiest shed. While We Are What You Are is rarely thrilling, it’s still a film to be viewed with the lights off.
You can order We Are What We Are over at Amazon.
Best Special Feature: The bonus features are scarce with the independent release, but some time was put into the "An Acquired Taste: The Making of We Are What We Are" featurette. The music in the segment is a little melodramatic for my taste and we mostly get behind-the-scenes footage of scenes getting shot, but it’s a stark contrast to most making of segments, which don’t give audiences a good look at the scenes setup. I would have liked to have seen a few more interviews within the segment that explained what was going on, although there are interviews available on the disc, as well.
Other Special Features: