We Are What We Are
Jim Mickle updates Jorge Michel Grau’s 2010 cannibal family drama in solid style, building on the promise of his low-key vampire saga Stake Land from the same year.
Moving the action from a bustling Mexico City to rural USA, Mickle and co-writer Nick Damici have lost some of the original’s sharp political subtext – the impoverished being easy pickings in huge metropolises – but a shift to American Gothic and oppressive religious faith brings its own rewards.
When their mother dies unexpectedly, teens Iris (Childers) and Rose (Garner) must take a more active role in the macabre household chores dictated by their zealot father Frank (Sage) – namely, preparing captured young women to be the main dish in their traditional family feast.
Here character and emotional conflict provide the real dread as a doleful mood is maintained; this existential disquiet and melancholy prove welcome antidotes to the tiresome ‘Look! Surprise!’ brand of horror that’s currently in vogue. [Chris Fyvie]