Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Movies: We Are What We Are

(Drivebycuriosity) - Cannibalism maybe the most horrible topic, at least the most unsavory. Some of the darkest fairy tales of the Brother´s Grimm collection deal with this barbarity. In 1991 the French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet shot his cannibalism movie "Delicatessen". IMBD calls this film a "post-apocalyptic surrealist black comedy" (imdb).

The movie "We Are What We Are", which is now running in New York`s Landmark`s Sunshine Cinema & L.A.´s Landmark`s Nuart Theatre, doesn`t show humor (imdb ). Instead it is a kind of reference to the archaic Grimm`s fairy tales. The horror movie, inspired by a Mexican film from 2010 with the same title but different plot (wikipedia), is now set in today´s U.S., somewhere in the suburbs in Upstate New York (Catskills mountain area).  There are a father and his teenage daughters who practice cannibalism behind the mask of civil decorum.  But everything has its price. A climbing number of missing people in their neighborhood raises questions…….and things started to take its course.

Director Jim Mickle and co-script writer Nick Damici delivered an better than average horror movie and showed an intense mixture of barbarism, dysfunctional family, clandestine oddity, bigotry, Christian fundamentalism and more dark issues. The plot develops slowly which intensifies the scare. There is time to show how the fledging daughters deal with their miserable life and care about their pre-school brother and there is even place for a bit romance. But the makers also confront their audience with gore and shock effects as you could expect with this subject. "We Are ….." is certainly an advertisement for a vegan cuisine.

Cinematographer Ryan Samul created pictures which show the vicinity  to the Brothers Grimm`s sinister landscape. He keeps the screen often in dark and uses a lot of brown thus amplifying the intensity. His shots from the rain soaked dark forests are gorgeous. The frequent use of close-ups amplify the tension.

Ambyr Childers & Julia Gardner, who play the unfortunate daughters, are the movies greatest assets. The freshness and innocence of their characters give relief and hope in spite of all the horror. The moments when  Julia Gardner´s face fills the screen are pure bliss. Michael Parks as a wary coroner also stays in my memory.

"We are what we are" requires a strong stomach but will reveal cineasts.

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