Monday, 2 January 2012

We Are What We Are: A Snooze-Fest of a Cannibal Film

Cannibal films are always a mixed bag that rarely deliver, and personally, I prefer the gory tribes in the jungle ripping people apart to the understated modern family. We Are We Who Are, a cheap but well made Mexican horror film, had an uphill battle with me from the get go.

Telling the tale of a impoverished family consisting of a slightly neurotic mother, one aggressive son and one repressed son, and a cunning daughter who have to perform 'the ritual' after their father dies in the mall. To do this, they target people and kill them, saying they are getting more food and that they have to be done before a certain time.

What I have just written might seem like I am trying to hide some big twist. I'm not. The film spends an awful lot of time teasing the audience with questions like 'what is the ritual and why do they do it?' and 'why did the father die suspiciously? Who were those people who cleaned up his body?'. A good film knows to make the audience ask questions, but the answers should always be there in some way. Unfortunately, We Are Who We Are forgets to let people know the answers.

The film is well directed and shot, taking any film to task on aesthetic, the music is catchy and couldn't be more perfect (even in its sparse use) and the cast are all solid and convincing, but the film misses one key element that it cannot do without; a good script. The story is very linear and doesn't exactly bring anything new to the table. The film teases by going in to side plots about hookers and young gay cannibals, but doesn't go the full way with what is potentially the most intriguing part of the story. Instead, we stay with the main story of the family trying to choose a new leader for the family and perpetuating the ritual. It is interesting, but not enough for an entire feature.

Oh, I love A Nightmare on Elm Street. What...? Oooooohhhhhh....

The family are also all quite despicable characters. I understand they are supposed to be flawed, but where we might sympathise with them, instead our best bets for connecting with are lost on a whiny boy and a psychotic girl. Also, the region 2 DVD features a quote from Scott A. Johnson of calling it 'a cannibal gore-fest', but I have to say, though the gore on display is realistic and effective, I'd hardly call it a gore-fest. Maybe a gore-trickle. Whatever, there isn't much gore. But there are 'funny' cops and some morgue attendants who disappear as quick as they enter the scene.

"Hi, you'll never see me again after this scene ends."

It's a shame really, as the film could have been quite a good character analysis of a clan of cannibals, but instead sells itself short and goes for too simple a plot full of extraneous characters that, in an alternate world could have been beneficial, but instead over-bloat a simple idea.

Worth a watch, but only in passing, on TV.