Oct 14, 2014

14 of 31: We Are What We Are (2013)

A vain attempt by a formerly prolific blogger to review 31 new (to me) horror films in the 31 days of October. We did it last year and it was a gas. Can we do it once more? Let's find out.

Platform: Netflix on Roku
Starring: Michael Parks, Kelly McGillis, Ambyr Childers

People eating other people is a scary thing. Usually it's a one-off psycho kind of thing. But then there are the instances of head-hunting natives in the jungle, or pioneers trying to cross the Rockies, or some post-apocalyptic clan just fighting to stay alive. Fucking terrifying in every case. I can't think of anything worse than dying at the hands of some cannibal. Or sharks. Yeah...dying at the hands, er fins, er teeth of a shark would be horrible.

Somewhere in rural America, a woman dies suddenly while shopping for her family. Her autopsy reveals early signs of Parkinson's, or perhaps something else. Her husband is left to take care of their two daughters and son. We see almost immediately that he is a bit of a religious freak. And he appears to have kidnapped a woman and locked her in a room in the basement of his shed. I think I see where this is going. "All is forgiven in the eyes of the Lord." Yum, yum...eat 'em up!

The cannibalism that the family practices is of the ritualistic variety. Following an ancestor's diary that details the need for the family to resort to cannibalism to survive back in the pioneer days. What was good for Grandpa and Grandma, amirite? The youngest son seems oblivious, but the two teenaged daughters are thinking about a change in lifestyle. Dad's having none of that.

But he has to deal with effects of a powerful storm which has washed up some of the family's victims from a  burial site upstream. And a concerned medical examiner whose daughter disappeared mysteriously some time ago. And the local deputy sheriff who has eyes and other body parts for the eldest daughter of the cannibal clan. And the prying eyes and ears of the kind old lady (Kelly McGillis!!!) who lives next door. His family's secrets are on the brink of discovery by everyone around them.

I have to say that I was enjoying the movie all along. It was haunting, beautifully shot, tremendously acted and an incredible slow-burn of a horror story. But the last 10 minutes of the film got batshit crazy and made me fall in love with it. Holy crap! So insane! I did not see that coming.

Definitely check this one out and definitely stick with it until the ending. You won't be disappointed.

Verdant Dude Rating: 4.5 out of 5 pumpkin ales.

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