Saturday, December 21, 2013

¡Qué horror! 2014
Candidate #5

(January 2013) 

After having given us Mulberry Street and Stake Land, the dynamic duo of Nick Damici and Jim Mickle--as co-writers, with Mickle in the directorial chair--take on an English-language remake of Jorge Michel Grau’s Somos Lo Que Hay. 
Now, while I was not as enamored of Somos Lo Que Hay as others, I was floored by Mickle and Damici’s take on the material, producing what is, undoubtedly, the best film they’ve crafted thus far.
To call it a remake would quite possibly be misleading though, as it does a whole lot more than simply transplant the narrative from Mexico to the Catskills, but rather, it essentially just takes the core idea (a family of cannibals trying to exist in contemporary society) and then deviates significantly from the original.

Mickle and Damici’s We Are What We Are is an excellently measured piece that takes a look at the collision of religion, tradition, and the always complex and complicated bonds of family, as triggered by the devastating effects of a torrential storm.
It’s a tortured family drama dressed up in one of Buffalo Bill’s cast-off “suits”; there’s the inherent and underlying gruesomeness of the idea that wraps around it, but what really matters is what’s beneath it--the troubled, beating heart of family.

There’s an excellent cast here, which includes Michael Parks, Bill Sage, Wyatt Russell (son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn) and Stake Land alumna Kelly McGillis, with a brief appearance by Larry Fessenden (yay!).
The central performances that need to be highlighted though, are those by Martha Marcy May Marlene’s Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers, who bring a haunted, wan translucency to the Parker girls, poor unfortunates burdened with the responsibilities of tradition that they may not want in the first place.

 “It’s a family drama with horrific backdrop. But I don’t think of it as a horror movie, and I hate that we have to classify things or put things in specific genres in order for it to be seen as something. So for marketing purposes, I hope people see it as a horror film and then when they see it go, ‘That wasn’t really a horror movie.’”
--Jim Mickle

Parting Shot: What’s interesting in the wake of We Are What We Are are the discussions for a prequel and a sequel, the latter to be handled by Jorge Michel Grau.
Now that sounds, errr… yummy…

(We Are What We Are OS courtesy of

¡Qué horror! 2014
Candidate #4

(March 2012)

“Nicole. She’s the one girl I keep trying to remember. But I… I think she’s the problem. I think she’s the reason I am the way I am, right?

Christopher Denham (from Sound of My Voice and ¡Q horror! 2013 title The Bay) is photographer Kevin Wolfe, a man desperate for some sort of genuine human connection with the opposite sex, but who may very well be his own worst enemy, as a traumatic past could prove to be the reason for his constant failure at relationships.

With Denham also acting as co-producer, Forgetting the Girl is director Nate Taylor’s impressive feature debut. Working from a screenplay by Peter Moore Smith, Taylor gives us a well-crafted exercise in measured suspense, as Kevin goes about his life, and we begin to see just how dysfunctional it actually is.

Forgetting the Girl is an exceedingly commendable freshman feature effort from Taylor that is about, among other things, memory (and the lengths we go to eradicate the possible pain they may contain) and the madnesses we enable within each other.

Parting Shot 1: Props for the use of VNV Nation’s haunting “Illusion” over the end credits roll.

Parting Shot 2: A review of The Bay lurks in the Archive.

(Forgetting the Girl OS courtesy of