We Are What We Are - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

We Are What We Are Reviews

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Super Reviewer
February 12, 2011
Stunning Mexican horror film, heavily influenced by L¥t den r¤tte komma in. A family of cannibals struggles after the death of the father, who was in charge of getting the...well, food. Minimalistic setting and score compliment this drama favorably. Outstanding cinematography and a top-notch cast make Somos Lo Que Hay the best Mexican film in recent years to slip under the radar. Writer/director Jorge Michel Grau manages to throw in some important commentary on how cynical and cannibalistic we can be as a society.
Francisco G.
Super Reviewer
August 27, 2011
Mexico's Tony Manero
Super Reviewer
March 27, 2011
"We Are What We Are" is an adequate and bitter family-drama with a compelling storyline and a hint of horror . The movie takes place in a brooding atmosphere and a sub-plot of socio-political criticism, in this case Mexico, but most developing countries of America can be identified with it.
Let yourself be bitten by these cannibals, it certainly deserves a viewing.
Super Reviewer
½ March 23, 2011
Mexico's new wave of indie cinema has yielded wildly uneven results, but something has always been consistently good: the cinematography. So, it's a pleasure to find out that Somos Lo Que Hay not only looks great, but it's also a very good movie. Part of what is so engaging are the characters, which are very well written and portrayed by a talented cast; you feel for them, even root for them, even if the are... well, what they are. A well-paced, serious horror movie that doesn't just gloat on violence.
½ April 24, 2016
We Are What We Are is a low-budget, Spanish drama/horror that promises big things with its great title, disturbing poster, and exceptional premise, however it fails to leave an impression due to its obvious mis-marketing as a horror film; there is no cannibalism to be had. The basic storyline is that the patriarch of a poor, Mexican family drops dead and leaves his widow and more importantly, his children, in charge of putting food on the table, or in this case: people. The youngest son steps up to the mantle and requests that the family follow him now; which doesn't sit well with his older, more impulsive brother and causes friction between the family. All of this sounds great on paper, especially when you factor in that the family members are all cannibals, but the execution is REALLY shoddy and focuses more on providing a social commentary on poverty instead of making good on the premise. Throughout the film, the characters constantly talk about a "ritual" that must urgently be performed, and yet, when the characters bring home two candidates (a prostitute and a homosexual) the others protest that will not eat such tainted meat; an interesting and damning parallel to spoiled food, but a ridiculous idea considering the ticking clock they apparently have. What frustrates me about this film is that it had so much potential to be really great, but nothing much of merit happens until the last twenty minutes when every character loses their marbles and start acting like morons and the film swiftly ends after a stand-off with the police. Hoping that the American remake does a better job with the material.
½ October 27, 2014
ugh, i love the American remake, so i figured id check out the original, and boy is there no comparison. The US one is so much better, it saw the potential and just handled it in such a better way. This one has too much pointless family bickering, plus other scenes that just waste time, the subplot with the cop investigating is under developed and the cop is pretty stupid, nowhere near as compelling as Michael Parks in the remake, also i hated the way this one ended, plus you never find out why they eat people, just for no reason apparently, ugh it had some good music i guess, i just gotta give jim mickle credit for seeing the potential in the material
February 4, 2014
this movie tried to creep people out and the underbelly of a broken down city. It just go cheesy and stupid. I would give this a lower rating if it wasn't for the pretty solid acting.
January 10, 2014
A well-made and provocative film, We Are What We Are is an interesting and relatively original examination of how family and tradition can warp us into monsters. Still, and I don't usually say this about horror films, but I felt that the film focused too much on the family's reactions to the loss of their father and too little on killing and eating people. It need more guts, gore, and violence to really drive its points home and keep from dragging.
November 20, 2013
Excellent, original, and ultimately creepy film from Mexico. An unusual family copes with the loss of its patriarch while trying to hold onto their unique family traditions. It's just that their family traditions are more than a tad on the disturbing side. A horror/thriller that plays partially like a family drama. The domestic drama (played straight) underscores and emphasizes the horrific aspects of the events. Dark and unrelenting. Well worth a look.
September 26, 2013
Its grim storyline, and serious tone will probably turn off some people. But for horror fans, We Are What We Are proves to be a fine take on the cannibal genre. It actually builds up a bit before things get too crazy.
½ May 25, 2013
An unusually character-driven Mexican horror film. Highly original, very well acted, and not overly gory -- though definitely violent and at times quite viscerally so. It may be a bit slow moving for some horror fans but I found it held my interest. It taunts the viewer with mysteries never revealed but didn't leave me with any sense of disappointment at that.
½ July 13, 2012
Somos Lo Que Hay (Jorge Michel Grau, 2010)

There's a theater near me called the Capitol. It's one of the great commercial bastions of actual honest-to-pete art in Cleveland (if you want a good art film and it's not playing at the Capitol, you're going to have to wait for it to hit the Cleveland Institute of Art-funded Cinematheque or head way into the Eastern suburbs to the Cedar Lee Theatre). One of the best things about the Capitol is that, with the help of IFC and melt Bar and Grilled, they have pretty much singlehandedly revived the midnight movie tradition for movies other then the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Last night was interesting: IFC was running Somos Lo Que Hay while Melt was running Say Anything.... I like Say Anything... a great deal, but I've seen it many times, and I believe in Mae West's immortal quote: "between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before." The audience for Say Anything... was overflowing; the entire lobby was packed. That for the Cleveland premiere of Somos Lo Que Hay? Ten. I counted. Choosing the evil you've never tried before, one thinks, is becoming a lost art.

The good news: Jorge Michel Grau, who has been wowing the underground horror community with fun shorts for years now, has finally made himself a feature film. (Whether he is related to the Jorge Grau who directed such seventies cult horror standards as The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue I do not know.) This is good news because Grau has a fine eye for some of the subtler features of filmmaking, as well as a good sense of how to flesh out an onscreen character, and when you combine those two things, it's pretty difficult to come up with a completely bad film, no matter how micro your budget may be, as long as you get competent actors. The bad news is, Jorge Michel Grau has finally made a feature film, and that's because he didn't translate well from shorts to full-length, but more on that later.

We open with the scion of a family (Amor's Humberto Yez) dying in a Mexico City mall. His body is spirited away by mall staff, a janitor is immediately on the scene to clean up the blood he's vomited on the pavement, and less than a minute later, no one knows the incident even occurred. You were looking for a black comedy? That's about as black as it gets; it's vaguely reminiscent of what Terry Gilliam might have done had Brazil been a gore film. We cut to a family living in a small apartment in the projects, and we are immediately given to understand, through the magic of shot juxtaposition, that he is the father of this clan: mother Patricia (Before Night Falls' Carmen Beato), older brother Alfredo (Perpetuum Mobile's Francisco Barriero), sister Sabina (Sin Nombre's Paulina Gaitan), and younger brother... I cannot for the life of me remember his name, and IMDB is failing me. It begins with a J an d ends with an o and I'm 99% sure it is not Javiero, which is what my brain keeps telling me. In any case, the boy is played by the late Alan Chvez, killed in a shootout in Mexico City shortly after the film was shot. (And since I saw this on the big screen, I can't simply go back to the DVD and check.) In any case, the family is now at loose ends as to what to find for dinner tomorrow. Which is a problem, as it turns out, because the family are cannibals. And it's not at all long before we discover why the death of their father hits so hard, aside from the obvious; the four remaining members of the clan are pretty much helpless when it comes to hunting for food. Much of the rest of the film, which takes place over the next couple of days, is focused on Alfredo's increasingly desperate attempts to feed his family. There's a subplot involving a couple of fifth-rate cops trying to figure out where the finger discovered in dad's stomach at the autopsy came from that's there pretty much for comic relief.

And what's here is good. At least one reviewer called it "the best film [he'd] seen so far in 2010" (at twitchfilm) and compared it to Lt den Rtte Komma In. On the other hand, I've seen a lot of people compare it (and not favorably) to the mediocre After Dark Horrorfest entry The Hamiltons form a few years back, and yes, there are similarities, though I'm not sure there's enough to say there's anything more than an influence here. (That influence is, however, undeniable.) But just because film A is influenced by film B does not make film A necessarily inferior, and such is not the case here; Grau takes that premise and loads it up with all sorts of subtle wonderment and far, far better camerawork than in that other flick. Grau's camerawork is so claustrophobic that even the father's death at the beginning-the only shot in the film outside during the day-almost chokes the viewer with its closeness. Also of note, and I wish I knew more about this guy so I could expound for a while, is a fantastic soundtrack from a chap named Enrico Chapela, who understands more about dissonance and noise than perhaps any other composer I've heard in a feature film (the arguable exception would be Graeme Revell when he's in a bad mood and reverts to the SPK days).

On the other hand there's all the stuff that's kind of hinted at but then never goes anywhere. The sexual tension within the family is ratcheted up about twenty minutes into the film, and for the rest of it you can tell there's an incestuous love triangle just bursting to find its way out of Grau's head and onto the screen, but it never shows up despite a couple of scenes that stop a knife's blade away. And while the characters are fleshed out, the plot is skinny enough that the movie does feel as if it's a touch too long. But instead of wanting the movie to be shorter, I wanted Grau to explore more about the cops, or more about the plot points that never show up, or even more about the awesome guys in the funeral home who appear for only a single scene. Grau only scratches the surface, and it's frustrating. But it's beautifully shot and well-acted, which makes it a refreshing change from the vast majority of Hollywood horror films of the recent past. *** 1/2
January 1, 2012
Some very good moment to moment filmmaking but, where I enjoy a movie which is a journey of discovery, revealing its story as it progresses, this felt more like the filmmaker withholding information throughout the movie - and I never learned enough to make it a satisfying experience. That said, this film shows a lot of promise for a first film and I'll definitely give Grau's next film a look.
July 31, 2011
A Spanish rip off of The Hamiltons only not as cool & and suspenseful. With this you know the whole time the family is a bunch of cannibals where in the Hamiltons you just think they're Serial Killers but its much more than that (I was riveted with the Hamiltons & never saw the twist end coming!! & for me that's pretty back cause this kind usually I can sniff out!~) What they are.. is rip off GARBAGE that just doesn't stand up in a variety of ways. & I'm not even counting subtitles. (which don't count) There's not much emotion with the movie except one maybe 2 Anger and desperation. I really didn't get emotionally involved with the characters, at times I'd fast forward through parts just to get to the ending faster. The whole thing is pretty predictable and for those reasons.. I give it an F
July 3, 2011
For a horror film, this received high praise from reviewers, so I had to check it out. The acting and direction are fine, but I just didn't buy into the premise of urban cannibals. Nowhere did I find a convincing answer to my question "wouldn't it make everyone's life a lot easier, to just eat Ramen noodles, or even spring for a $1.99 box of Kaboom cereal?"
June 12, 2011
I loved it. Different than any horror movie American studios would ever make. Reminded me a little of greeat Let The Right One In in style and tone.
May 26, 2011
To dispense with glib and unhelpful comparisons you may have heard about We Are What We Are: it's way more like The Threepenny Opera than any telenovela. And it resembles Let the Right One In only in that both are recent foreign horror films that are much smarter and more genuine and roundly affecting than the general mass of horror films. If WAWWA had come out ten years ago, they'd call it "Mexico's Ginger Snaps."

And WAWWA is most definitely a horror film, despite some reviewers insistence on calling it another kind of movie "with trappings." Its impoverished Mexico City cannibal family may not be human at all, or under some sort of otherworldly curse, anyway, if taken at their word. (Hell, they may not even be cannibals: dunno if Grau is riffing on Bunuel or not, but...they never do manage to complete their religious rite and *eat.*)

The film flags a bit whenever it leaves the family for a subplot about inept, corrupt cops looking to make a name and a media bundle on the bizarre case, but for the most part deftly weaves its bloody horrors with the more realistic terrors of a wildly dysfunctional family whose last pin just got pulled.

We Are What We Are is that rarity: a horror film that is not at all entertaining, to anybody, on purpose. It's a cannibal movie with no cannibalism in it, and the kind of film that manages to find its greatest moments of despair in a stranger's kindly offered message: "You are alive." They just do not make enough horror movies like this one.
February 27, 2011
It's not quite a horror movie. It reminded me a lot of Dogtooth because of the dysfunctional and psychopathic family. The movie was more about how the family coped with their existence and "addiction" in an immoral world. It was an interesting movie.
½ March 22, 2011
Lets face it ,when it comes to people it's all summarizes in who leads the pack and what they eat.

It's hard for every family to make ends meet when the breadwinner passes away... harder for some families than the others!! If you ask me cannibalism falls under another form of minority in this society filled with minorities who lead a harder life than most, although cannibalism would be a weird one!!

Don't all humans feed on others? Isn't it the minority who faces the most troubled in life?

The movie made me forget how I felt about different believes and engage in the problem any lifestyle brings on its members.
March 21, 2011
'We Are What We Are' is a disturbing horror film that's rich with atmosphere and intrigue. Love it or hate, you won't be able to turn away.

I thought the messages behind the film were handled well - not preachy or emotionally manipulative. Some may prefer their horror without commentary on family and tradition, but even if those elements didn't work for you this can still be effective.
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