Finger-Licking Good…

Jim Mickle’s remake of the Mexican art-house film of the same name, has been beautifully shot, well acted and solidly directed. This tale of religious cannibals, works on so many different levels, and can be viewed as part backwoods social commentary, part dig at religious brainwashing and finally an effective gore-fest to satisfy the bloodthirsty. You admittedly have to wait before being treated to the latter, however, it delivers in spades when it does, with a decent shock that I didn’t see coming. The best kind!

We Are What We Are
Directed by
Jim Mickle
Ambyr Childers, Bill Sage, Julia Garner, Michael Parks
Release Date
27 September 2013
Ed’s Grade: B-

The Parker family live a simple life, where the customs of their forebears are followed as closely as possible. Their frugal existence and closed-ranks attitude surprisingly doesn’t draw suspicion or questions in this modern age. The Parker’s consist of mother, Emma (Kassie Wesley DePaiva), father, Frank (Bill Sage), eldest daughter, Iris (Ambyr Childers), next eldest, Rose (Julia Garner) and young son Rory (Jack Gore). Emma drops dead in the street, after bleeding from her nose, and after a very quick burial, we learn that Iris must take over her mother’s duties (which we learn about later), taking care of the old family traditions and her father.

Older children have been going missing over the years, and after a fourth disappears, Doc Barrow (Michael Parks), who autopsied Emma, starts to ask questions. The doc also found unusual symptoms in Emma’s body during the autopsy, and after finding human remains in a nearby stream (thanks to a big storm), he begins seeking answers. He lost his own daughter years ago, which has made him even more suspicious.

The first thing you notice with We Are What We Are is the realistic setting and the way it’s all been very effectively shot. The way the tension is built up from the beginning is almost palpable. Then we have a superb cast of experienced actors, who each bring their characters effectively to life, especially Sage, as the moody and intense father, Frank. Ambyr Childers as Iris was also expectedly good, as she tried to stay strong for the sake of the family, but eventually the horror of it gets too much for her to bear. Julia Garner’s Rose was another that stood out, particularly during a scene where they have a victim to deal with.

The rest of the characters all had their parts to play, and none felt like dead weight or superfluous, as each actor put in a solid turn. Kelly McGillis played the concerned neighbor, Marge, who along with Deputy Anders (Wyatt Russell), started to get a bit too close to the truth about the Parker’s unusual lifestyle. You do need a little patience and investment in this film but the reward is definitely worth it. I hadn’t even heard of the original We Are What We Are, which I think helped enjoy this tale of people-munchers all the more.

Review by Ed Blackadder, Lead Entertainment Writer

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