We Are What We Are

Viewed – 26 May 2011  Blu-ray

When first seeing that title, I thought it was a cheap cash in to reflect Let The Right One In’s clever, not obvious title.  Several months later and what the movie actually turns out to be is a realistic interpretation of the little explored cannibal sub-genre made famous by movies like Cannibal Holocaust and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  I went in with high expectations, expecting another foreign export that would push boundaries and raise eyebrows.  The reality?

The story follows a small family consisting of a father, mother, two sons and a daughter.  When the father dies unexpectedly in a shopping mall, coughing up blood, the family soon realise they have to fend for themselves.  This is when we discover that the family live on human meat, and their father used to kidnap prostitutes and bring them home for the family to feed on.  Now what surprised me was the fly on the wall style and real-world Mexico setting, where these people exist unnoticed within a bustling city.  What puzzled me however was upon the discovery of the father’s cannibalistic taste following an autopsy, the Police appear indifferent to the revelation like it’s an every day occurence.   Adding further to the confusion is how the family seem so incompetent, kidnapping hookers in plain sight and squabbling amongst themselves.  It doesn’t help that nothing is revealed on why these people are cannibals apart from a vague mention to a ritual, and although the family seem well realised as characters, they are given little to do other than pine for their next feed.

For what is basically a horror, this is not scary, and just a few gruesome sound effects and stomach churning silhouettes bring little to the (ahem) table.  On a plus, director Jorge Michel Grau certainly delivers a technically competent and stylish movie, with the Mexico backdrop used well and every shadow and eerie subway showcased admirably.  Just a shame that the material just couldn’t make this viewer care.

Verdict:  2 /5

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