We Are What We Are

Cannibals. That’s what we are. Not all of us (at least not literally), but definitely some of the characters in We Are What We Are. Don’t consider that a spoiler, as there’s just about zero chance of you coming into Stake Land director Jim Mickle’s posh new horror flick completely cold; and besides, it’s not the what that makes a movie like this worth seeing, especially when it’s a remake (of a Mexican film, from only three years ago); it’s the how. Obviously something ain’t right with the Parkers of rain-soaked rural Delaware, who find their preparations for a family-only traditional holiday interrupted by a personal loss. The question is: By what course will their situation go from wrong to really wrong? Co-scripting with Nick Damici, Mickle takes us there gradually, lingering in ominous quietude with the brooding Parker patriarch (Bill Sage) and his eerily luminous adolescent daughters (Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner) as they contend with various intrusions upon their grim customs. The casting, which also includes Kelly McGillis and a fine Michael Parks, is Mickle’s best asset, even if the girls seem a touch too Hollywood-groomed to be fully persuasive. Also, for all its careful reticence, the film still tends to spell things out too much, and the intended poetic justice of its ending seems tonally amiss, or maybe just insufficiently poetic. Genre fans wanting more gore and less fancy atmospherics will have their gratification delayed but certainly not denied.