The Parkers are a seemingly wholesome family but patriarch Frank rules over them with a rigorous fervour. When tragedy strikes and his daughters Iris and Rose are forced to assume terrifying responsibilities that extend beyond those of a typical family, the local authorities begin to uncover clues to a horrible truth that the Parkers have hidden for so many years.
Having previously seen the original Mexican version of We Are What We Are it’s hard not to compare and contrast the two, much like with the recent version of Oldboy by Spike Lee. However this is a film that has made some interesting if completely obsolete changes that do little to improve upon the many mistakes of its predecessor leaving this reviewer unimpressed by a film that sees itself as scathing social commentary but really plays like a sensationalised horror flick.
The film follows a very isolated family living in a small town among the Catskills that on the surface seems normal but the family quickly reveals its dark nature following a personal tragedy. While the patriarch Frank (Bill Sage) tries to keep the families traditions intact the daughter’s commitment fractures as life for the family quickly changes in ways none of them could have foreseen..
While the film has changed from a drama about a family in flux to that of a family under the control of a maniacal sociopath it hasn’t managed to move past the dehumanising elements in the films story that plagued its predecessors. The film fails to get viewers to invest in its characters as it proceeds to force them to carry out unbelievable and depraved actions in the name of ‘entertainment’
However the most upsetting part of We Are What We Are isn’t the unnecessary nature of the rehash or the strange changes the story has endured but the fact it has been transformed into a Hollywood film, one more interested in finding a hero within the piece instead of letting the story speak for itself. While the film has a captivating final sequence it is marred by an ending that justifies the whole sorry affair despite the sordid things this family does in its attempts to keep their little world protected.
There is a place for violence in cinema and overly gruesome horror can be excellent (last years You’re Next being a prime example) but We Are What We Are is one step too far as it seeks to sicken its viewers while never really making the story even close to believable