We Are What We Are Sundance 2013 Review
Director: Jim Mickle
Writers: Nick Damici, Jim Mickle
Stars: Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Michael Parks
To make a horror film that only contains pure, sinister creepiness, you need a story that’s soaked in evil, that permeates bad vibes. Such plots are extremely rare, which is why many of the best horror films also have a sense of fun. We Are What We Are is a film that ought to feel like an amusement park terror ride, but instead comes off as a poor attempt at fine art.
Director Jim Mickle (Stake Land) remade the movie from a 2010 Mexican horror film about a family that tries to continue its annual ritual, which involves kidnapping and murder, after the father dies. Mickle flipped the sexes of the characters, so in this version two teenage daughters, their toddler brother and their strict father must carry on after their mother’s death.
While the film has a nice look and a strong sense of atmosphere, it takes itself way too seriously. As the conclusion gets nearer, it becomes overly clear just how ridiculous the story is. A film needn’t be slapstick to have humor, but We Are What We Are doesn’t even offer a sly smile to suggest that yes, it’s really quite silly. And that’s too bad—it could have been a splendid bit of scary silliness.