Oct. 11--STYLISH ALMOST to a fault, "We Are What We Are" is a new horror movie from Pottstown native Jim Mickle.
He directed the well-received vampire movie "Stake Land," and this time has undertaken a remake of a recent Mexican horror movie ("Somos lo que Hay").
"We Are What We Are" takes us into the spartan, 19th century time-capsule home of rural fundamentalists whose religious rituals hint at a mystery. It's foreshadowed in the movie's unsettling opening moments when the mother, shaking and bloody, collapses in the street.
Mickle's movie, though, isn't so much a mystery as an exercise in mood and accumulating tension. His interpretation is measured, deliberate, defined by careful wide-screen composition and evocative, low-key music. All in all, a throwback to the classic, pre-gore horror canon.
The film is abetted by some interesting performances. Standouts include Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner as two teen girls gradually growing estranged from the patrilineal religious zealotry that's been passed down to their whacko dad (Bill Sage).
Especially good is Michael Parks as the local sheriff, who suspects there is something creepy beneath the family's rigid piety, something that might explain a string of unsolved disappearances.
I was with the movie until the final moments, when its whispered promise of violence became a bloody scream, and what had been implied was made thuddingly literal.
On the other hand, I don't know how else you could have ended "We Are What We Are." I do know that dreading what was bound to come was more fun than actually watching it.
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