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31 Days of Horror

‘We Are What We Are’ (Somos Lo Que Hay)’ – One of the Finest Genre Films of the Decade

31 Days of Horror

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In the same way, Let The Right One In reinvented the vampire brand and [Rec] put a clever twist on the epidemic /zombie film, Jorge Michel Grau’s We Are What We Are reinvigorates the cannibal genre with an emotional portrait of a family bound by a terrible secret and driven by monstrous appetites.

A middle-aged man dies at the start of the pic, leaving behind his widow and three children alone to support themselves. The devastated family is confronted not only with his loss but with the challenge of finding someone to feed on, for they are cannibals and have always existed on a diet of human flesh consumed in Satanic-like rituals. Now that they must find a way to hunt down their prey, and the eldest son, Alfredo, must gather the courage to accept the challenge before he and his family starve.

Unlike most cannibal films, We Are What We Are eschews the easy options of excessive gore, graphic violence, sex, and cheap laughs to create a deeply moving drama with a spoonful of black comedy and a healthy serving of horror. It’s a slow-burning film with an engulfing atmosphere that occasionally leaves you feeling uneasy and other times laughing along. For every moment of bloodshed (of which there is surprisingly little), there are subtleties and surprises that transcend this exhausted genre. Though the violence is nowhere near as brutal as the cannibal movies of the late ’70s or early ’80s, We Are What We Are hasn’t forgotten its roots, administering just enough bloodshed to upset mainstream movie-goers. It also provides us with nice, small moments of color for the characters, short but clever lines of dialogue and plenty of room for development.

We Are What We Are is a haunting, emotionally involving journey into the macabre.

Director Jorge Michel Grau (who also wrote the script) conjures up one of the best, most imaginative and resonant family-themed horror stories to date. The picture’s leading attribute is Santiago Sanchez’s dazzling photography, a dark and dirty palette that beautifully highlights the sleazier neighborhoods of Mexico City. Grau balances beautiful, long, static shots while at times having the camera move kinetically, juxtaposed with a remarkably eerie and complex score composed by Enrico Chapel. It is without a doubt one of the most layered, atmospheric, and textured movies of the genre. Beautifully crafted and expertly acted, We Are What We Are is a haunting, emotionally involving journey into the macabre.

It’s not perfect. The setup is far more fun than its pay-off, which unfolds rather too quickly, and the picture falls into the trap of making all the cannibals sad, tragic figures. Without a hero, we are left with little room for suspense and never given any explanation for the bizarre rituals and the need to feed before the clock strikes twelve.

Cannibalism is one of man’s oldest and deepest taboos. On any level, it is never an easy topic, yet the director and absorbing cast manage to effectively mix scares with intelligent storytelling. Despite its minor flaws, We Are What We Are is without question one of the finest genre films of the decade and can only become a classic.

– Ricky D

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and the NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as the Sound On Sight and Sordid Cinema shows. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

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31 Days of Horror

Game Boys, Ep. 167: Co-optober- Man of Medan

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It’s finally here, Halloween, and with it comes the frightening conclusion of Game Boys’ Co-optober. The Game Boys are wrapping up in spooktacular fashion reviewing the co-op designed Dark Pictures: Man of Medan. But does this game float or sink? Does it stand a ghost of a chance with Tim, who notoriously dislikes walking simulators or does this title turn the tides of his opinion in spine-tingling fashion? Find out and, of course, Happy Halloween!

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31 Days of Horror

Game Boys, Ep. 166: Co-optober- The Horror Genre

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Few genres, if any, are as divisive as the horror genre. Love it or hate it, horror is an important piece of media history offering content creators a means of handling the taboo and trauma in a distinct way. This week, the Game Boys truly celebrate the genre by discussing its general importance, it’s appeal, where to get started in the genre, and what to avoid. Turn out the lights and tune in!

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Email Game Boys at Gameboyscoopcast@gmail.com

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And Check Out Alex’s Work on Frightday.com!

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31 Days of Horror

Game Boys, Ep. 165: Co-optober- Moon’s Haunted

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The nights are growing darker, longer, and colder and the most haunted time of the year approaches! Consequently, the Game Boys’ creepy Co-optober horror celebration continues this week with Destiny 2: Shadowkeep, the spookiest expansion to date! That’s far from the only thing haunting the Game Boys this week, so take a seat by the fire, dim the lights, and tune in to this terrifying episode! Let’s hope it’s not the last thing you do!

Listen on Apple Podcasts

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Follow Game Boys on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook

Email Game Boys at Gameboyscoopcast@gmail.com

Follow Tim on Twitter

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And Check Out Alex’s Work on Frightday.com!

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