We Are What We Are

We Are What We Are

Director: Jim Mickle

Cast: Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner

     
 

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Director Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street, Stake Land) takes the helm for this horror remake centered on a reclusive family with a gruesome secret that's gradually revealed during a torrential downpour. The Parkers have never been much for company. In fact, for as long as

Overview

Director Jim Mickle (Mulberry Street, Stake Land) takes the helm for this horror remake centered on a reclusive family with a gruesome secret that's gradually revealed during a torrential downpour. The Parkers have never been much for company. In fact, for as long as they've lived in the Catskills, none of their neighbors have set foot in their home. And that's by design; family patriarch Frank (Bill Sage) is intent on maintaining his ancestral customs, which wouldn't be understood by modern society. Meanwhile, when the storm clouds open up and their small town starts to flood, the local authorities make some disturbing discoveries that seem to confirm everyone's worst suspicions about the mysterious clan.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Three years ago, director Jim Mickle took the sparkle out of modern vampires in Stake Land, a postapocalyptic vampire thriller featuring demonic bloodsuckers that you'd never take to prom. Echoing vintage John Carpenter, it succeeded at making vampires fearsome again while signaling the arrival of a new horror auteur with real vision. Now Mickle and frequent collaborator Nick Damici are back with We Are What We Are, a remake of Jorge Michel Grau's 2010 horror film about a family of modern-day cannibals. While some fans may question Mickle's decision to jump on the remake bandwagon with just his third feature, We Are What We Are is far from your typical flesh-munching romp: Deliberate, thematically rich and visually assured, it's a well-acted meditation on the theme of tradition that's been exquisitely folded into a quietly unsettling genre drama. The Parker family have never been much for company. In fact, none of their neighbors in the Catskills have ever set foot in their home, and that's how patriarch Frank (Bill Sage) likes it. He's intent on maintaining his ancestral customs, which wouldn't be understood by modern society. When Frank's wife Emma (Kassie Wesley DePaiva) suddenly dies, he tasks his eldest daughter Iris (Ambyr Childers) with maintaining those mysterious customs, which include feeding and caring for her younger siblings Rose (Julia Garner) and Rory (Jack Gore). Meanwhile, when the storm clouds open up and their small town starts to flood, the local authorities make some disturbing discoveries that seem to confirm everyone's worst suspicions about the mysterious clan. The very best horror filmmakers work in the realm of ideas, and in We Are What We Are, Mickle uses the topic of cannibalism to explore the ways in which we sometimes allow our past to dictate our future without questioning the rituals that dominate our daily existence. Whether it be religion, culture, or simple force of habit, humankind has a troubling habit of blindly following decrees issued in another era under drastically different circumstances; that's precisely the case with the Parkers, a family who define themselves by the desperation of their descendants, who generations ago resorted to cannibalism in order to survive a particularly harsh winter. We Are What We Are is a film that's rich in atmosphere from the haunting opening scene, which finds a dazed Emma gazing wearily at a picture of a missing teen, before coughing up blood and dying in a shallow puddle on a rain-soaked street. By using her death as the launching point to explore the growing divide between the Parker girls and their severe father, Mickle and co-screenwriter Damici (who also has a small role as the local sheriff) establish an air of quiet tension that hangs over the entire movie. There's never a shred of doubt that the Parkers have something to do with the disappearances that have plagued their town and its outlying areas for the past few decades, so instead the writers focus on the shifting family dynamics in the household as older daughter Iris carries on the family custom, while younger sister Rose recoils in horror upon being confronted with the reality of it. It's an ingenious way of creating tension in a muted film with little mystery, and a subplot concerning young Rory's fear of monsters affords the writers the opportunity to cleverly turn a familiar horror trope on its head. The performers, meanwhile, prove essential to maintaining the movie's grim tone. At the forefront is indie stalwart Sage, effectively balancing the role of a grieving husband with that of a stern father who seems not only lost in time, but in thought as well. Even though Frank exudes malevolence early on, he displays a paternal tenderness toward his children that blurs the line between villain and protector. Likewise, as the daughter reluctantly forced into a maternal role following the death of her mother, Childers is positively haunting while warding off the affections of a handsome young deputy (Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) and clashing with her horrified sister over their newfound responsibilities. The supporting players contrast nicely with the serious tone of the leads, especially Kelly McGillis as a kindly neighbor and Michael Parks as an inquisitive local doctor. They both bring a welcome likability that prevents the mood from becoming overly oppressive. We Are What We Are isn't as exciting or accessible as Stake Land, but it displays a marked maturity in storytelling that makes it worth a look for horror fans possessing the patience required to process its heady themes. For those brave souls, the reward is a film with the power not only to get under your skin, but to prompt deep discussion about the pitfalls of human nature.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/07/2014
UPC:
0741952748595
Original Release:
2013
Rating:
R
Source:
Momentum
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:45:00
Sales rank:
69,079

Special Features

An acquired taste: the making-of "We Are What We Are" Interviews with director Jim Mickle, Bill Sage and Julia Garner Audio commentary with cast & crew

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bill Sage Frank Parker
Ambyr Childers Iris Parker
Julia Garner Rose Parker
Michael Parks Doc Barrow
Wyatt Russell Deputy Anders
Kelly McGillis Marge
Nick Damici Sherrif Meeks
Jack Gore Rory Parker
Kassie Depaiva Emma Parker
Laurent Rejto Hardware Clerk
Annemarie Lawless Arlene Stratton
Traci Hovel Mrs. Kimble
Nat DeWolf Mr. Kimble
Vonia Arslanian Emily Meeks
Larry Fessenden Bearded Tenant
Odeya Rush Alyce Parker
Joel Nagle Mathias Parker
Reagan Leonard Alyce's Mother
I.N. Sierros Coach Stratton
Tyler Barden Counter Man
Lea Kwiecinski Waitress
Jack Turner Officer T.J. Turner

Technical Credits
Jim Mickle Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Russell Barnes Production Designer
Rene Bastian Executive Producer
Rodrigo Bellott Producer
Joe Ciccarella Asst. Director
Linda Cohen Musical Direction/Supervision
Andrew Corkin Producer
Nick Damici Screenwriter
Brett Fitzgerald Executive Producer
Emilie Georges Executive Producer
Gerner & Spears FX Special Effects
Jeff Grace Score Composer
Jack Turner Producer
Nicholas Kaiser Co-producer
Tanja Meissner Executive Producer
Linda Moran Producer
Darren Morris Score Composer
Phil Mossman Score Composer
Mo Noorali Executive Producer
James Oakley Associate Producer
Ryan Samul Cinematographer
Nicholas Shumaker Producer
Ada Smith Art Director
Brian A. Spears Makeup Special Effects
Michael Sterkin Sound Mixer
Elisabeth Vastola Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- We Are What We Are
1. Chapter 1 [6:40]
2. Chapter 2 [6:28]
3. Chapter 3 [5:39]
4. Chapter 4 [7:03]
5. Chapter 5 [7:29]
6. Chapter 6 [8:49]
7. Chapter 7 [4:42]
8. Chapter 8 [7:04]
9. Chapter 9 [5:27]
10. Chapter 10 [8:41]
11. Chapter 11 [6:41]
12. Chapter 12 [5:01]
13. Chapter 13 [6:51]
14. Chapter 14 [:41]
15. Chapter 15 [3:27]
16. Chapter 16 [4:07]
17. Chapter 17 [5:20]
18. Chapter 18 [4:58]

Videos

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