What to make of We Are What We Are?

Every once in a while a film comes along that gets inside my mind in a way that the only cure is to spread it to as many unsuspecting individuals as humanly possible. Horror movies can be especially infectious in their spread. Like a disease the effects can be slow but impactful depending on the nature of the film.

The first time I watched “We Are What We Are” it was very much like being overtaken by a new virus. It started out like a slow, almost boring movie about a family with a cult-like belief system. Slowly the story began to unfold. The disease began to spread. By the time the movie ended I was thoroughly infected with its images. It was firmly seeded in my brain ready to spread throughout my tribe.

The film itself is nothing special. In fact it’s really just a remake of a film imported into the United State from our neighbors to the south. In fact I recently found myself stumbling upon the original during an online search to revisit the film recently. Yet like many remakes it does leave its own mark on the world.

It starts with a simple opening. A woman in what appears to be a small town falls suddenly to her death with no explanation. The majority of the movie centers on the family both coping with the loss of their mother while also preparing for a gut-wrenching ritual that involves kidnapping, dehumanizing and ritualistically cannibalizing a young woman.

During the course of the film the viewers psyche is infected with images telling the origin of the practice via flashbacks. It tells a tale of a frontier family struggling to survive a particularly harsh winter. During the course of the winter the women are eaten as a means of providing food for the rest of the family. The gruesome scenes are only the beginning. The remainder of the film is a blend of verbal abuse the children must suffer as the father continues preparations while one of the daughters begins to question the practice. The other plot thread revolves around the local authorities investigating the suspicious death of the aforementioned mother from the beginning.

What ensues is a story involving a young girl using her sexuality to throw the scent of the law enforcement officer off the trail in a disturbing scene that reinforces certain stereotypes of those who choose to live a simple, country lifestyle.

The film culminates in a scene that provides a thoroughly satisfying wrap to the events depicted. Between the family’s treatment of their captive as a wild animal, to the borderline incestuous relationship between the father and his children, the film is absolutely daring enough to entangle the viewer in grotesque tale sure to leave a lasting impression upon them for years to come. While not the most shocking film I have ever seen it is surely high on the list.

Like “The Ring”, the cure for watching the film is to spread it to its next victim. I have done my part. Stay Cool.