It is with love that I do this. God’s will be done. – Alyce Parker
We Are What We Are is the American remake of Somos Lo Que Hay, a Mexican film that I was a massive fan of. The original tells the story of a family living in Mexico City struggling to continue an ancient tradition in the wake of the sudden death of the family patriarch. That tradition being ceremonial cannibalism. Where the original told the the story of a philandering father who died from eating prostitutes and a family struggling to keep ancient ways alive in the increasingly modern times. The back drop of the streets of Mexico City and the complex relationship between brothers presented one of the best cannibal films to date.
Jim Mickle (Stakeland) takes the bare bones of the original; a family struggles to keep a tradition of cannibalism alive in the wake of the death of one of the parents death and the building risk of discovery and takes in a completely different direction. The patriarch of the Parker clan struggles to keep his family together in the wake of his wife’s death oscillates between violent outbursts and near catatonic depression. The threat of violence ever lurking in the corners of his eyes. The dynamic of sisters Iris and Rose is at once the heart of the story (like the original) but completely different. The sisters struggle to come to terms with the tasks that fall on them with their mother gone.
Mickle manages to create a film that shares the same themes with the original but creates a completely different world all his own. Bruce MacDonald is fantastic as the local doctor and Julia Garner is fantastic as the middle child pulled between her growing sense of the world and her love of her family. This was out over seas in 2013 and would have made my top 10 for the year. It is due on DVD next week and I definitely recommend it. Mickle continues to grow in exciting new ways. If only more remakes could be this interesting and daring.