The Johansson family—mom, dad, their rebellious teenage son, and young daughter—are looking forward to a quiet summer in their idyllic suburban town. But in the blink of an eye, things go from blissful to berserk when a horrifying plague tears through the community. After a string of grisly deaths, the government puts the neighborhood on lockdown. But one thing soon becomes terrifyingly clear: you can't quarantine the apocalypse. This nightmarish, blood-soaked shocker establishes sharply drawn, recognizably real characters—and then watches what happens when they're put through the wringer to survive.
Again, here we are with yet another bite at the zombie genre. I have lost count of how many zombie films there are. Some involve a real-world setting, others involve nazis, marijuana, and even zombie beavers and fish. There is just no end to the zombie apocalypse genre. One of the newer ones to the scene is 'Sorgenfri' or 'What We Become' as it's titled in the USA. This danish film is directed by Bo Mikkelsen, which marks this film as his first feature film to date.
There really isn't much new or original to 'What We Become' as far as story or plot, however Mikkelsen sure knows his way around the camera and setting up shots, as well as showcasing a very real and natural family with excellent characters who are trying to survive an outbreak of zombies in their small suburban town. Things start out nice enough with a family of four tending to their everyday lives in suburbia, complete with laughter, fighting, tender moments, and teenage love with neighbors.
It seems like everything is peachy until there is a newscast that talks about some sort of virus spreading. In real life, we wouldn't really panic about this, just like this family brushes this off too, until it shows up on their doorstep and the family tries to figure out what's happening, which transitions into survival. Again, what Mikkelsen does well here is establish the family dynamic, which seems like a real life family you would know, or could even be yours. Their relationships with one another are great to watch on screen, which is attributed to the script and performances from everyone.
The aspect that doesn't work so well here is that this film isn't very original in it's story or execution. We have all seen this many times before in films like 'The Crazies', '28 Days Later', and certain episodes of 'The Walking Dead'. Some story plots and scenes were directly ripped off from those films and into 'What We Become', which isn't necessarily a horrible thing, but early on in the film, you'll be able to predict and lay out the entire movie from start to finish before anything happens. When this occurs, it takes you out of the immersion of the film, because you've seen it all before. For the horror and gore fans, there are some great zombie eating scenes as well as some genuine thrills and scares. Mikkelsen did a good job here with an over-saturated market for flesh eaters, even though we've seen this story so many times before. Still, it holds its own and I look forward to Bo's next film.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
'What We Become' has a 50GB Blu-ray Disc along with a DVD copy of the film from Scream Factory and IFC Midnight that are Region A Locked. There are no inserts or digital download codes here, but the cover art is reversible. The discs are housed in a hard, blue plastic case.
'What We Become' has a 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The detail is surprisingly quite sharp and vivid throughout, considering a lot of the movie is shot in low lit settings. Closeups reveal great makeup effects, gore, and even individual hairs on the actor's faces. The hazmat suits look excellent here too with all of the detail and grime on those suits showing up easily.
Wider shots never go soft, but offer a nice detailed look of the surrounding trees, nature and objects in the household. Colors are bold and earthy from time to time. Since most of the film is in lower-lit settings, there aren't a ton of primary colors here. Black levels are deep and inky and the skin tones are natural when not decaying. There were no major issues with banding, aliasing, or video noise, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
This release comes with a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix in Danish with English subtitles. For a small budget horror flick, the audio is quite good. Sound effects pack a punch and sound realistic with great directionality. Ambient noises of nature, the military rolling through town, and other growls are quite good too. Most of these striking and robust effects start in the second half of the film where everything picks up the pace.
The low and high ends are well balanced with some good bass moments. The score always adds to the suspense of the film with out drowning out any other sound element. Dialogue is always clear and easy to follow along with the subtitles. Lastly, there were no instances of any pops, cracks, hiss, or shrills, leaving this audio presentation with good marks.
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 Mins.) - Oh good, a theatrical trailer for the film is here.
'What We Become' isn't the most original or fresh take on the zombie genre, but director Bo Mikkelsen certainly knows how to tell a family dynamic story with heart, soul, and a certain realness that makes us connect more with this film than we would with some big budget Hollywood movie. There are some great zombie attack scenes here and some gore for the blood fiends out there. This just isn't anything you haven't seen many times before. The video and audio presentations are both great, but the only bonus feature is the trailer. If there were more with this, I'd give it a higher grade, but unfortunately, this is a rental.