Seeing as I just finished my Halloween marathon that involved plenty of Video Nasties that included such topics as cannibalism, I felt it only fitting that I do a guest review so soon after that showed the spirit of some of the films I endured for my favorite holiday.
The thing about the film We Are What We Are (2013) is the approach to the topic. This film could have gone the black humor route, and from what I hear about the original it’s based off of, both are serious stories that deal with the truly gruesome reality of what cannibalism is. However, if you are expecting a blood bath, this film will disappoint.
And I am actually glad for that.
We Are What We Are is shot beautifully, with a slow, deliberate pacing that for some horror fans might drag on. But for those into serious tension with a foreboding atmosphere of dread, you’ll get it here. You’ll also get some great acting from the cast. Everyone from the daughters, to their strict patriarchal father is great. You care about each and every one of them. In some cases, you might sympathize with them, because no one is really a villain here. You might question the sanity of the family and their strange, religious “ritual”, but you know they actually love each other and are just doing a tradition that was passed down through their bloodline. The girls are probably the most tragic figures in the whole film, because they are old enough to know better, but forced to make choices that scar them. When their mother dies, they have to carry on in their mothers place and do the killing for the ritual. It’s no wonder the film ends like it does. It’s pretty friggen spectacular actually, and fitting on so many levels.
I really enjoyed the deeper levels of what this film is conveying. Because it’s not just about a family who ritualistically cannibalizes people. It is a reflection on religion itself, and that just because you’ve practiced something through the generations doesn’t make what you are doing okay. This is an important message for today, and as always, horror isn’t afraid to show us the ugly truths of our society. Religion does inflict itself at times onto others, stripping some of their rights and freedoms and in a sense, cannibalizing them because they are “lost lambs.”
Don’t watch this movie because you want a shocking gorefest. Watch this because you appreciate a well done story with a slow-building darkness. A creeping dread that fills every crevice until only the shadows consume everything.
Just because you are different, doesn’t give you the right to take away someone else’s existence.