Even if you are not a fan of horror movies, you will still enjoy, “We Are What We are.” We meet the Parker family as they learn that their mother has died under suspicious circumstances during a terrible hurricane.
Leaving behind three kids and a husband, the family is shaken by this tragedy. It becomes immediately clear that the Parkers are an insular religious family who very much keep to themselves. Their interactions with the outside world are controlled and brief, Their mother's autopsy is their first encounter with a doctor. The patriarch of the family, Frank, brilliantly played by Bill Sage, is a dark and explosive man struggling to maintain the Parker customs, he immediately puts his eldest daughter in charge of the familial responsibilities including an upcoming religious day. It is in preparation of this yearly ritual that we learn the Parkers hide a very grotesque religious custom from their neighbors and townsfolk. It is the doctor's autopsy of the Parker mother that first draws suspicions of the Parker family and their recluse lifestyle. Director Jim Mickle explained in the Q&A that he was very much influenced by “Twin Peaks” which is apparent in nearly every haunting shot of this small town. “We Are What We are” was filmed right after hurricane Irene where flooding damaged so much of the Catskills, there are literally shots of an entire town underwater and it really aids in the storytelling. Jim explained that instead of moving production to a different location, he would incorporate the hurricane into the story, a decision that really worked perfectly with the storyline. With regards to the religious aspect of the film, Jim Mickle explained that he wanted the audience to question why it is we continue to perform rituals and customs without knowledge of their initial purpose, a really interesting side point not necessarily seen in the horror genre. The acting is impeccable and just when you think you have seen all the Parker's secrets, you get thrown a completely insane scene that literally makes you jump out of your seat. The story of the Parker's is both dramatic and gory and it is the marriage of those two aspects that really sets this film into its own genre. The incredibly poignant acting by the daughter Rose, played brilliantly by the young Julie Garner, pretty much makes you want to see this girl in every film. If you want a grippingly creepy tale which pairs the grotesque with macabre traditions, you are in for a real tasty treat.