Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movie Review - We Are What We Are

Director: Jim Mickle
Starring: Bill Sage, Michael Parks, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner
Year: 2013

I was originally intrigued by the trailer for this film because I haven't seen a ton of Gothic horror.  The horror I usually watch is campy, silly, or zombie.  I'm not used to the dark, sinister, religious, heavy drama of Gothic horror and the creepy stories that underline their plots.  So my interest was piqued by We Are What We Are because of the genre it would represent, but also because it had been done before.  It's a remake of a Mexican film; a gruesome tale of family, fervor, and murder.  I probably should have checked out the original first, because now I don't want to.  It's not that I didn't enjoy the movie; it was a strong film that might push me to others like it.  But I can't imagine watching this twisted plot again, seeing the violence and the darkness one more time, so I think I'll just stick with this version and try not to have a nightmare.

The Parkers are a reclusive family who practice the old time religion.  The patriarch of the clan demands strict obedience and constant ritual from his children, controlling his household through religion and fear.  In their solitude, the family keeps a secret, one so damned that they dare not speak of it outside their home.  But when the mother suddenly dies, events begin to spiral out of control and the truth of the Parker's ancient rite may come to light.  Sisters Rose & Iris begin to rebel against the old customs, wishing for a normal life of love & happiness, one that has been denied them all these years.  But their father won't relinquish his control that easily, fighting to hold on to a family that is quickly slipping away, meaning to keep them together no matter what, even in death.

Talk about skeletons in the closet.  The family in this story is one terrifying and screwed up bunch.  The plot is based on their practices, their inner struggles, and their relations with the outside world; a mess of emotions that drive the action of the film.  And it does have a nice driving feel, a brooding & sinister atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat.  It's violent, disgusting at times, sad throughout, and constantly dark.  The actors all do a great job portraying the twisted characters, especially Michael Parks as Doc Barrow and Julia Garner as Rose Parker.  All the action is clean, never stupid, and always high impact.  I was left with the urge to watch more from this genre, heavy & horrible films that rely on great depth & good acting more than fake blood & screaming coeds.  Not that I'll stop watching zombie movies, but this was a refreshing break from b-horror; a peek into the black chasms of the human soul and a well-crafted film overall.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰

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