‘We Are What We Are’ (2013): Review

‘We Are What We Are’ (2013): Review


Director: Jim Mickle
Writers: Nick Damici, Jim Mickle
Stars: Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner


This Friday we take a look at something that isn’t usually talked about, something that is pretty abhorrent. Cannibalism. What do you do if your whole life has been centered around the ritual of eating human flesh and you don’t know anything other than the feeling in your gut that it is wrong? That’s the struggle that the main characters in We Are What We Are are facing. If that sounds intriguing to you then I think you’ve just found your Friday Night Movie.

We Are What We Are follows a family that has always kept to themselves; the typical reclusive movie family that lives just outside of town and only goes into town when necessary. They’re the kind of family that people whisper about and cross the road to avoid when they see them walking down the street. Our intimate glimpse into their lives reveals that the father, Frank (Bill Sage), is consumed with the need to keep his ancestral family traditions of cannibalism alive in a world that makes it increasing difficult to be a private person.

One day, when the mother of the family suddenly passes away, all the responsibility of maintaining these rituals with Frank falls on the shoulders of his two daughters, Iris (Ambyr Childers) and Rose (Julia Garner).  Furthermore, an unrelenting storm that has battered their town for days threatens to uncover their secret which has been buried deep for years.

We Are What We Are ©Entertainment One

Director, Jim Mickle, crafts an incredible tale with this film. All the elements come together to make this film more than it’s individual parts; everything is working together. A story about a family of cannibals doesn’t necessarily seem very compelling. It sounds horrific and wrong but it doesn’t sound like something with any depth. Mickle takes this one-dimensional concept and really delves into what this would mean for a family and the personal consequences for the individuals in that family.

That being said, there is no lack of gore for the avid horror fans out there. There is also plenty of tension and moments where your breath will catch in your chest. All the good horror movie elements are present but there is also a lot more to glean from the story. A movie that focuses primarily on character has to be driven by strong performances and this movie doesn’t disappoint. Childers and Garner offer real depth to their roles and both are equally talented, which is rare in actors so young. They perfectly embody the fear and moral apprehension to what’s happening while simultaneously struggling with their love for their father and their obligation to respect their history.

Overall, this movie combines great performances with a truly compelling story.  There is a lot going on in this one; it’ll make you think and keep your heart pounding the whole time. It isn’t a movie to be missed and it’s a perfect way for you to kick off your weekend.