For the past few years, horror films have been on a downward trajectory, filling their two-hour time slots with ghostly gags and paranormal demons, but there has been a noticeable lack of the human element in horror. What happened to the realism of the genre? When did audiences start accepting cheap remakes of the same film? These are the quintessential questions that most moviegoers fail to ask themselves.
Sure, there are cinematic horror classics like “Nightmare onElm Street”and “Friday the 13th,” but where are all the freshly released scary movies that do not involve the paranormal or deformed?
“We Are What We Are,” directed by Jim Mickle, revives the horror movie scene and reminds audiences everywhere that frightening material can come from humans themselves. A reinterpretation of the 2010 film, “Somos lo que hay,” the movie focuses around the religious Parker family, their disturbing secret and the surrounding town that tries, and succeeds, in finding out exactly what the Parkers are hiding from them.
While it may sound somewhat banal in nature, “We Are What We Are,” does not inspire boredom in the least. Despite the somewhat revealing trailer, the angle Mickle takes with the film is an intriguing one.
Instead of solely focusing around the secret the Parker family conceals, Mickle introduces the engaging themes of family dynamics and tradition. This horror film works, because there is a discernible story and intricate plot line; it’s not just a gimmick. From the town investigations to the creepy family discussions, the film is interesting enough to keep everyone along for the ride.
Mickle’s adaptation of “Somos lo que hay” stars Bill Sage as the Parker family father, Frank, and Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner as the sisters Iris and Rose Parker. The screenwriting is intricate enough that the characters seem realistic in their feelings and evoke sympathy from the viewer.
This horror film is not like most. Think of it along the lines of “The Shining” or “The Silence of the Lambs.” It’s spooky enough to leave a lasting impression but not terrifying enough to keep a light on at night.
While it will not necessarily make you jump out of your seat and scream, the well-placed gore near the end of the film has the power to make you flinch and feel slightly queasy. Even though “We Are What We Are” is not a mainstream film at the moment, I recommend aficionados of the horror genre go see it. It may make you think the next time you go to the theater to watch the next “Paranormal Activity” addition.
“We Are What We Are” opens in Phoenix theaters Oct. 18.
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