You. Hey, you. Yeah, you.
You know that TV show you love so much? The one that’s a zombie show that isn’t about zombies? Or you know that Swedish vampire movie that’s ultimately not about vampirism? Along those same lines in tone, pacing, and minimalism comes a new entry in the isn’t-what-it-looks like horror movement: We Are What We Are. A Cannibal movie that isn’t about cannibalism.
Sure, most movies above grade-C are trying to be more than what they look like on the surface. American Pie isn’t so much a film about tits & ass & getting drunk (although it still is) with your friends, it’s also a film about maturing and allowing other joys into your life too. Did I just compare Mexican indie horror We Are What We Are to the 21st Century’s version of Porky’s? No, not really. Maybe?
We Are What We Are tells the grim tale of a family of cannibals living in poverty in Mexico, who are forced to fend for themselves when Dad suddenly dies. The children jump into action (manipulatively headed by The River‘s Paulina Gaitan), while their mother locks herself away until she starts to lose her authority. Power struggles are only one of the compelling things going on in this brutal (but not excessive) feature. There’s also class and societal issues, poverty, corruption and greed in government/police, gender struggles, the bonds of family, being a provider, ritual cannibalism, and so much more.
Enthusiastic me aside, this won’t be a flick for everyone. We Are What We Are is dark in more than mood, it could have been shorter, and some scenes feel like they’re in another film (mostly those involving police officers Tito and Owen). What will annoy many most is the lack of answers – What is the Rite? What happens if they don’t do it? What happens if they don’t have a leader? And on & on. Me? I’m ok without answers this time. We Are What We Are is already answering ALL questions in its title, meaning: there are no simple answers.
We Are What We Are is available for purchase in stores, or can be seen currently on pay cable (check your local listings).