We Are What We Are: Review
Boy that escalated quickly. I mean that really got out of hand fast.
For the better part of this movie I was really into it. The opening scene was intriguing & mysterious so I was hooked right away. The story felt well constructed and they did a nice job introducing the Parker family and their dark secrets while raising a lot of questions.
Are they evil and twisted? Are they being forced to do what they’re doing? Is the tone being misleading? Are they even human? I like when a movie lets me play detective for a while.
When the answers are finally revealed I’m not surprised, but I am satisfied. That’s how I thought I would be left feeling as the movie started to whine down, satisfied. However the movie makers must’ve figured we’d leave room for dessert because the meal was far from over (pun intended).
This is where things fell apart for me.
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, read no further because I’m about to spoil all over the ending.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
As the family house of cards starts to topple and the local doctor played by Michael Parks (did anyone else think he looked a lot like Bryan Cranston?) becomes aware of the families cannibalism, Mr. Parker decides that the best course (HA!) would be death by poison for his entire family rather than face a world where their secrets are known.
This is when the movie changes from a well paced, character driven mystery to what felt to me, like an 80’s slasher flick.
The doctor gets knocked out by a frying pan bugs bunny style (with no facial damage to show for it), and the neighbor gets her front door smashed in and throat slashed Jason Voorhees style (It felt as if the once a year killing was more of a burden to Mr. Parker and the family, something they honored due to strong religious beliefs, what’s with the rapidly escalating body count?).
Then, once Mr. Parker has re-collected his family and has them down at the dinner table again (with the Doctor half awake on the floor, you kill the neighbor so thoughtlessly but leave the man who came to kill you alive in your house?!) the movie devolves again into an episode of the walking dead.
“I love you daddy”, the once defiant daughter says, making us think she is done resisting and ready to accept her fate with the family and tie a nice bow on the movie. Not so fast!
As Mr. Parker leans in to give her more human chili, she sinks her teeth into his neck while the older daughter jams a knife through his hand on the table (enjoying the show little brother?).
If things ended here I thought it would have been a nice touch. Poetic justice for the father by having a chunk of his flesh chewed off, and an ironic twist having the defiant daughter use biting flesh as a means of escape.
But it didn’t stop there, not even close. She goes back for seconds, her sister joins in and they proceed to chow down on daddy for what felt like forever. Flesh is ripped off, chewed and swallowed repeatedly. This is more than self defense, they’re all of a sudden human flesh crazed animals?!
WHAT IS GOING ON?! At no point in the movie did we get any hint that the girls had this in them. There was no build up to the human feast. For 95% of the movie the daughters were one set of people, then all of a sudden, they flipped and became flesh hungry monsters.
WHY?! A theory that comes to mind is studio interference. Maybe the movie was supposed to end with the family finishing the meal and dying together in their Sunday best, defiant of regular society right to the end. Yet when the script was read, the studio demanded a more bloody and shocking climax so it would be easier for them to market as a bloody shocker.
I suppose it worked. It’s part of the reason we chose to rent it over other options, it’s why I’m writing this review, and it’s what gave us the biggest pleasure while watching. I doubt the movie makers were hoping for their audience to roll on the floor laughing and scream “WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING!?” but any entertainment is good entertainment right?