DIRECTOR Jim Mickle WRITER Nick Damici; Jim Mickle STARS Bill Sage; Ambyr Childers; Julia Garner CINEMA 28 February DVD 3 March
A remake in the loosest of terms, this version honours Jorge Michel Grau’s excellent original (review here) yet is a wholly different film, a very intelligent screenplay adding some extra elements to round out proceedings and create an impressive story of its own.
Shot against a backdrop of constant rain, the film is very much a slow-burn, its nuances creating a growing unease and carefully concealing the cannibalism at its heart in favour of the examination of familial roles, rites of passage and ritualism. The violence, when it eventually comes, doesn’t jar; the grisliness is another layer to the story as opposed to shock tactic. Strong performances all round — Julia Garner as the youngest daughter, reluctantly learning her new duties following the death of her mother, is particularly good — bring a believability to this most unusual of families, the macabre given a necessary air of normalcy, which emphasises the story as everyday life for the Parkers.
The result is a rich, moving experience that is difficult to fault — although the inclusion of a solitary jump-scare with intrusive sound does not suit the pace nor the subtleties that are so carefully written. This is, however, a minor quibble; We Are What We Are is surely one of the best horror films of 2013.
First published in movieScope 36