Four months ago I sat down in a screening room in London and chewed on the free ribs that were given to us glamorous members of the film reviewing community. Not knowing much about the film I wasn’t 100% sure why the PR team looked so amused by the fact that we were given free meat but it wasn’t before long before I knew all too well…
We Are What We Are is an American remake of a Mexican horror in which a recluse family are thrown into turmoil when the matriarch drowns amid a torrential storm. The family practices a ritual that must be carried out by the female elder and with the mother dead this duty falls on the two young daughters (Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers). The family, I don’t think it is too spoilery to say, are cannibals and the task that falls to the girls is that of killing a victim held captive by their father (Bill Sage). Suddenly the meat chunks lodged in my teeth took on a grim new flavour.
With the rain continuing to pour the family also have to deal with evidence of their crimes slowly being revealed as soil is washed away and bones start drifting downstream. The sisters not only have to deal with their father’s pressure to become murderers but with the possibility of what he might do should their secret be made public.
The execution of this questionable plot is surprisingly well done as the film does not stoop to the level of relying on occasional loud noises to scare the audience. Instead we are treated to an endless sense of dread and impending doom. Here the evil villains seem almost human; you feel as much for them as for their victims and you fear for the safety of pretty much everyone on screen. The longer the film goes on the more tension builds and for once the final scene was not the obvious conclusion you might have predicted at the start. Admittedly the final scene was a little… silly? But at least I hadn’t seen it coming.
If you fancy a good solid horror film with more nerve-shredding tension than sharp jumps then We Are What We Are is well worth a look.