Movie Review - We Are What We Are
Based on the 2010 Mexican Horror Film directed by Jorge Michel Grau, We Are What We Are is a 2013 film about a seemingly benevolent yet isolated family hiding a disturbing family secret. When a storm begins flooding the small town, it threatens to uncover the family for what they really are. How far are they prepared to go to hide the truth?
It should be noted that I have not seen the original, so this is not a comparison by any means. It is entirely possible my opinion of the film may differ slightly after seeing the 2010 version. But for me, this movie, though extremely slow at times, really paid off in the end. The director chooses to move the film along at a very gradual and deliberate pace, which builds the tension on it's own as we wait for things to inevitably fall apart. The film is character driven, and takes its time to observe the family and their dynamic, letting the story unfold effortlessly. Admittedly, I did find myself wanting it to move a little bit faster, but I grew to appreciate the slow-burn style just in time for the explosive final act.
Without giving anything away (which I consider a serious offense) it should be noted that the sluggish pacing throughout the first two acts makes the conclusion of this movie all the more jarring. And what an ending!! Kudos to the director, make-up and practical effects department for making the films shocking conclusion so much more realistic. It is one of the more memorable endings I have seen in years, due mainly to the fact that it truly surprised me.
Credit must also be given to the cast, who kept me engaged but not quite invested. Which is exactly where they want you to be. We aren't meant to understand the family, we too are meant to wonder about what lies beneath the surface of the facade. Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner are absolutely haunting as sisters, Iris and Rose. Jack Gore shows depth as a younger brother, Rory, and Bill Sage is imposing as the domineering father to the family. Most importantly, each characters dynamic works extremely well together, creating a dynamic ensemble performance.
Overall, this film succeeds in many ways because of the finale, although I would argue that makes the slow build work even better. Although the pacing of the film will not be for everyone, I imagine this would please most horror fans that don't require excessive gore and are willing to be a little patient with the story. Don't go into this movie expecting a slasher film, or you will be disappointed. Recommended.
- Leo Francis