Right up until the last minute I was undecided about seeing We Are What We Are at this year’s Frightfest, at the eleventh hour I chose to take the plunge and see the movie. The story follows a Mexican family who’s breadwinner and provider of food drops dead one day in the shopping mall. Unlike many other families the immediate concern is not with grief, but who will replace the father as head of the family; because this family are desperate for food and for cannibals this is not an easy task.
Initially the film started very well, the build up was good and the minimal text (the film was subtitled for English speaking audiences) helped you get into the movie a little more. The trouble being was that after an understandably slow start, it continued to drag and drag, then for some unknown reason from being an incredibly serious movie it turned into some sort of black comedy spoof.
The biggest problem with the movie for me was the way so many things did not add up. The two boys the story partially surrounds are easily identified by a police officer on foot, after being simply told that two boys driving a white car had attacked a young gay man. The story is set in a city not a town or village, so to just randomly pick two boys is just daft. Another police officer tracks the boys back to their house, despite the fact that the boys are yet to return home, in all the thousands of houses they are clearly in the section of town they live in, how likely is it that a policeman looking for two boys in a car would miraculously stumble across there home? The final insult to intelligence comes when having avoided both these police officers, the two boys return home to suddenly have police on their tail, despite the fact that neither police officer (the one in the house or the one on the street) had a radio to communicate with other officers. It seemed like write Jorge Michel Grau, knew what needed to be told, but did not know how to get from A to B properly.
The character development is fine; the wimp at the start of the day becomes the strongest character by the end. The strongest character becomes much weaker by the end. So over the course of the day, you see all these transformations occurring. The trouble being is that there is far too much focus on transformation, than the underlying issues, rather than the one that brings people to see the movie. You think cannibals, and if you’re a horror movie fan you immediately want to see it. What you get however is far from the promise; do not expect a high body count, or the family to be tucking into numerous meals. Yes they are cannibals; however that’s where the story ends, its like me saying I’m English; not quite enough to inspire you to watch a film about me. For the cannibalism you’ll see, you may as well just say they are Spanish and be done with it. There is none of that Spanish wit or brutality come to that; this is very much like an art house movie without the art.
Its not a bad movie, it just does not pick up to become above the ordinary, it’s a family drama about being top dog, and what you have to do to provide for your family. It has sadness, it had drama, it has some moral lessons, but horror is so thin on the ground here that you might confuse yourself and think that all your watching is a soap opera.