The holidays are a time to come together as a family, not only to celebrate the J-man’s birthday, but also to rejoice in each other’s company. The children squeal in delight with their new toys in hand, your uncle makes inappropriate comments as he hands out drinks, and your aunt can’t stop laughing. Meanwhile, your parents ask: “Hey, (your name), remember (your ex/when you were a baby/that time you embarrassed yourself 5 years ago)? ”. In any case, your family’s suppertime has nothing on the Parkers in “We Are What We Are”, a recent horror movie that didn’t make much of a splash at the box office, but packs one hell of a punch.
The Parkers are an old-fashioned and devoutly Christian family who, along with the rest of their small town, are having a hard time making ends meet. To make things even worse, Mrs Parker passes away in an ominous yet unfortunate fashion, leaving the two oldest daughters, Iris and Rose, to help take care of the household and their little brother with their father. They’re soon confronted head-on with a dark family secret when people around town start mysteriously disappearing, not to mention the sickness that seems to slowly overtake their father.
Set in a poverty-stricken rural American town under pouring rain, this movie grips you at first with striking and tension-building images, and then keeps you interested with a rich, intriguing backstory. The sound effects do a great job of making your small hairs curl, but what makes this story truly horrible is the brutality of the violence portrayed, paired with the otherwise picture-perfect family. No one in the cast is a superstar, but nonetheless gave a stellar performance, bringing not only life but also credibility and sympathy to the characters. From a father who believes in doing what’s best for his family and God (played by Bill Sage, David in American Psycho), daughters struggling with tough moral decisions, a bereaved doctor and a strapping police cadet trying to solve the puzzle, no character feels like a token or a deadweight, and remain genuine from the start to the spectacular ending.
Don’t be fooled by the mediocre IMDB rating and the meagre $81, 381 total gross, this movie is no Pluto Nash! It’s got all the elements of a classic, including great plot in a greater setting, a crazy guy, a hot girl, and bloody murder. The director, Jim Mickle (Transamerica, Stake Land), made sure that even the love interest wasn’t cheesy in this remake of the 2010 Spanish movie “Somos Lo Que Hay”. Some might have taken the script and cranked out a cornball. If you like thrillers, horror, something intelligent yet stimulating, or anything that isn’t a Christmas special, you’ll love We Are What We Are. You’ll never look at stew or Bolognese sauce the same way again.