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We Are What We Are


Stars: Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Kelly McGillis, Michael Parks, Kassie DePaiva, Jack Gore, Annemarie Lawless, Wyatt Russell

Director: Jim Mickle

Goodness knows what them thar mountain folk will get up to next. Deep in the Catskills live the outwardly respectable Parkers. Unfortunately, they are descendants of generations of cannibals dating back to 1781. No wonder nubile teenage girls from the region keep disappearing year on year - notably adjacent to Lamb's Day, when the voracious, God-fearing Parkers, Ma (DePaiva), Pa (Sage), two teenage daughters (Childers, Garner) and a young son (Gore) annually gorge themselves on stews made from human flesh.

Alas, it seems that side effects of this practice include Parkinson's and excessive bleeding from the nose. And things will never be the same after Ma suffers both on a shopping expedition, collapses, hits her head and dies in a trough of water.

After that, the outlook seems increasingly black for the Parkers, their neighbour Marge (McGillis), the local doctor (Parks) whose daughter is among the vanished and the deputy (Russell) who fancies the eldest Parker daughter, not to mention sundry dogs, as matters spiral out of control.

Axes, hammers and even guns swing into action thereafter in a predictably unpalatable brew (based on a mediocre Mexican film from three years earlier), which throws in a little sex and nudity amid the inevitable gore.

Director Mickle's downfall is that he wants to make a classy movie out of all this, so that there are lots of moody, atmospheric shots on offer, which is not what the connoisseurs of this kind of thing want to see at all. Roger Corman in the 1960s knew how to make horror films full of stylish shocks, but this is never that, being too much a beast of excessive contrasts.

Danny Kaye once memorably remarked that audiences in the Catskills could eat you alive, but this is ridiculous.

David Quinlan

USA 2013. UK Distributor: Entertainment One. Colour (unspecified).
105 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 23 Feb 2014