We delve into the home life of the Parkers, a reclusive family consisting of father Frank (Bill Sage), his daughters Iris (Ambyr Childers) and Rose (Julia Garner) and the youngest child, Rory (Jack Gore) – all of which are attempting to overcome the mysterious and untimely death of their wife and mother, respectively. Though appearing as benevolent to their neighbours, behind closed doors this unusual family follow a strict set of ancient customs and traditions, and their secret way of life is put at risk when the surprise death brings much unwanted attention in their direction.
The first act is wonderfully judged, as, unlike so many other movies of the same genre, Mickle plays on the death of the mother with sincerity and a realism that makes it all quite sentimental and poignant, rather than simply brushing it off in true horror movie fashion. Such an approach works well as it creates a bond between the viewer and our protagonists, as we instantly feel sympathetic to their situation, as we witness their immense suffering and grief that has been caused. For a film that then becomes somewhat surreal and fantastical in parts, it’s vital to get so emotionally invested from a human view point early on, thus making it easier to remain gripped when matters take a turn for the absurd.
There’s a wonderfully dark and brooding atmosphere to this title, while the intense downpour that remains consistent throughout allows for a chilling ambiance, where bleakness is a prevalent theme. This isn’t your generic horror movie however, as so many genres are explored. At times it’s intense and the suspenseful music points towards conventional horror elements, but it’s not quite in correlation as to what is occurring in the narrative, playing on the viewer’s perceptions. Nonetheless – and despite the positives on display – there is a feeling of inconsequentiality to We Are What We Are, and although there is a great idea in here, as the final credits roll you are left to question, quite frankly, what was really the point to all this. Gradually getting more inane as we proceed towards the latter stages, this seems to lose direction and struggles to conclude.
Remakes may get a lot of stick in Hollywood, as filmmakers can be accused of being somewhat lazy and uncreative in that regard. On this evidence, you can see why people have this aversion, as Mickle brings very little new to the table with this particular offering.