October 28, 2013

We Are What We Are (2013)



"The Parkers, a reclusive family who follow ancient customs, find their secret existence threatened as a torrential downpour moves into their area, forcing daughters Iris and Rose to assume responsibilities beyond those of a typical family."

I'm just going to do a couple of quick reviews today to get them out of the way. To be honest, I've found it a bit of a struggle to fill this month with something horror-related every day, and I'm looking forward to my time off on Hallowe'en.

The first of today's movies is Jim Mickle's reimagining of "Somos lo que hay" (2010) with the genders changed of the protagonists for no good reason whatsoever. Changing the sons from the original into daughters and having the mother dying instead of the father doesn't add much. Actually, it downgrades the social commentary of the original to such an extent that there's nothing here which you haven't seen before in any generic American horror movie from the last 3 years.

In many ways, "We Are What We Are" reminded me of "Flowers in the Attic" (1987) although its story is closer to being a non-comedic version of Jack Hill's "Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told" (1968). As with all new horror movies, some scenes are very formulaic, and because this is only a special kind of remake anyway, its borrowings are fairly obvious.

Julie Garner and Ambyr Childers.

Decent enough cinematography and above average acting are becoming de rigueur in remakes, and are the reasons why I'm not going to pan this one completely. It's always nice to get a movie which looks like a real movie. I was impressed by the camerawork in the opening scenes, and that was enough to hook me into watching the rest of it. If "We Are What We Are" had looked like another low-budget nasty, I would have ditched it after 5 minutes.

The biggest problem is that "We Are What We Are" is extremely slow over the ground and plays as a drama/thriller until the final scene. Mystery elements including a decoy murder and a doctor working out that the family are cannibals by looking up the symptoms of Kuru (or spongiform encephalopath for the more medically minded) are added to pad the running time, but a lot more gore spread throughout would have been better. I don't mind a languid pace in some movies, but this one made me want to scream, "Hurry up and do something!" at the screen.

The ending finally brings the much needed gore to the table (literally!), but it's so over-the-top and from out of left field that it completely ruins everything which preceeds it. The gore effects themselves are nothing to write home about either.

Worth a rental, I suppose, but neither of the "We Are What We Are" movies are as shocking as Pete Walker's "Frightmare" (1974).

I liked the setting with all the rain.


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