I had no idea what to expect from Jim Mickle’s ‘We Are What We Are’. I went in knowing nothing about it, other than it was a remake of a recent Spanish film of the same name. I was completely surprised by how good this movie is and what it's about. This haunting film is The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for the Indie film crowd. It’s beautiful, brutal, and very well acted. Needless to say, this little horror movie is a fantastic addition to the genre and has me all giddy for Mickle’s next film, whatever it might be.
We follow the Parker family who live in rural upstate New York, where the mother of the family suddenly dies while shopping for groceries. Much to her family’s dismay, life must go on and the two older sisters Iris (Ambyr Childers) and Rose (Julia Garner) are expected to take over the household as their younger brother Rory (Jack Gore) is constantly hungry. Meanwhile, their father Frank (Bill Sage) is trying to maintain his emotions and keep things running normally. However, things are anything but normal with the Parker family, as they have a deep dark secret that has been passed on from generation to generation over many years, as the daughters read their family’s diary.
And we soon find out just what this horrific secret is as a family has made it known that their teenage daughter has gone missing and that the town and surrounding towns have had people go missing over the years. Well it turns out that the Parker family are cannibals and have a certain ritual that they adhere to that has been passed on over the years, complete with dressing like they are Puritans and having long prayers before their meals. Not to mention, the kill room below their farm house where they chain up, torture, and brutally kill their victims. But hey, that’s family tradition, right?
Their neighbor Marge (Kelly McGillis) senses something is wrong when young Rory tells her he’s hungry, then bites her finger and begins sucking on the blood as she babysits him during his mom’s funeral. And the local coroner (Michael Parks) suspects something when he finds more than he can handle in their mom’s autopsy as well as some human bones that have washed up the creek from the Parker’s house. While the town sheriff is not willing to listen to the coroner, he enlists the help of a young deputy who went to school with the oldest daughter and who might have a crush on her. Unfortunately for him, he gets more than he bargained for.
As Mickle splices in flashback footage of their family from the olden times taking part in this sadistic tradition as well as showcasing each family member in present day struggling with their ways, it all ends in one of the best climaxes in recent cinema history. It goes from slow building suspense to balls-to-the-wall filmmaking that will literally make your jaw drop.
Childers and Garner are amazing in their roles, as they both struggle with leaving this life which they know is wrong, but it’s the only thing they know. Their tears and expressions are truly emotional. And Sage plays it calm and collected, but can quickly turn on the rage and delivers scares like the best of them. What’s great and original about this, is that this family is a part of the community and not shut ins like so many times we’ve seen before in d ealing with this subject matter. The filming is incredible with beautiful and amazing angles and shots throughout the film, even if some of those shots will haunt you for days on end.
If you're looking for one of those horror films that is different, original, and scary, then look to this one. ‘We Are What We Are‘ is simply amazing and I cannot wait to see it again. This is amongst one of the better horror films in a long time, plus I might think twice the next time I have a bowl of chili.
'We Are What We Are' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Much like the story, the image is dark and brooding, with a lot of the colors muted, with the exception of the blood that pops off screen as bright red. The blues and greens are all vague with a grayish hue to them.
But that's all part of the plan. The detail is often sharp with well-defined closeups of the actors that let you see individual hairs in Bill Sage's beard. There is some excellent depth to the picture as well. Black levels are fairly deep and inky with skin tones looking natural. There is some minor video noise during the darker scenes, but it's nothing that will hinder the viewing experience. This is a solid video presentation.
This release comes with an impressive lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. This is a very creepy sound track that has every speaker flowing with great sound. The dynamic range is wide with this one. The dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to understand with no pops, cracks, or hissing.
The sound effects are amped up here, whether it be bone crunching, slurping, or big rain storms, it all sounds robust and full. You'll get a moody score that never drowns out any of the dialogue or sound effects either. For this suspenseful horror film, the audio presentation is top notch.
'We Are What We Are' is really the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' for the indie film crowd. It's a dark and sinister film that builds and builds with an exceptional climax. In the middle of the film, it will hit you that you are actually watching a horror movie. This horror masterpiece comes with a solid video presentation, a top notch audio mix, and some great extras. Highly recommended.