Watch or Don’t: We Are What We Are

The recent release of We Are What We Are on Netflix has led to comparing this American version with Mexico’s Somos Lo Que Hay on Horror-Writers.Net first here and then here. Their verdict is that the original is a more textured, mindful film. I have not seen it yet, but watching the American version was like seeing the tip of an iceberg–majestic enough, but knowing that so much more could be realized.

Summary

We Are What We Are is about a family that for generations has committed acts of cannibalism as part of their faith.

Entertainment Value

  • The beginning mood is set when you meet the jittery mother of the family, who dies by tripping, falling, and drowning in a puddle, which feels like a retributive death delivered by God, even though you have yet to learn her particular crimes.
  • The youngest boy goes down in his dad’s cellar to see the “monster,” the woman his father has captured for sacrifice, offering a twist on the scared-kid-facing-the-monster idea.
  • Tight coils all around: The family doctor has a daughter that went missing a long time ago. The teenage daughters who must take on the role their mother fulfilled question the expense of their family on a normal teenage life. The nice neighbor lady is bitten by the boy, who is so hungry fasting before the big feast. It’s raining a lot, and it’s washing up all the old secrets. It’s hard to tell who is going to die, and which people you want to win, and what winning even looks like. There are lots of questions (in a good way) until the very last scene.

Dark Muse Value

This film asks social questions like:

  • How do we know the traditions of our family do not perpetuate evil?
  • Can we ever be anything besides what we were taught to be?
  • How can we support people to break out of dysfunctional family structures when that is all they know? Furthermore, if that is our situation, how do we escape, and who do we become when removed from our family?

Verdict: Watch, then watch Somos Lo Que Hay if you can find it

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