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What We Become is an intimate story of a horrific outbreak (Movie Review)

What We Become is an intimate story of a horrific outbreak (Movie Review)IFC Midnight presents What We Become.  Starring Mille Dinesen and directed by Bo Mikkelsen, this Danish horror/thriller follows a suburban family who have been quarantined into their home due to a severe and contagious viral outbreak.  Isolated from the rest of the world, teen Gustav spies out and realizes that the situation is far from under control.  With the help of their neighbors the family must abandon their idyllic home life before it’s too late.

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Film
The movie starts off with a gradual build, allowing us to get to know the family.  The performances and dialogue are particularity engaging so at no time does it feel like we’re being fed useless filler to bide time until the action starts.  It really feels like you could just watch a movie about this family even if there WASN’T an impending epidemic.  I appreciate it when horror/thriller movies give some personality and build relationships with the main characters.  It gives the “horrific” scenes that much more weight, as opposed to when you’re just watching something bad happen to someone you know nothing about.  It would be like watching the news of a foreign country; you’d be concerned, but it wouldn’t really have any lasting effect.
What We Become is an intimate story of a horrific outbreak (Movie Review)

Going in, I had REALLY low expectations for this film.  I more or less pegged it as just another outbreak movie with people running across the world trying to avoid the inevitable plague.  As it turns out this is a much more intimate story that focuses squarely on a handful of characters and the outbreak is somewhat incidental.  But that’s not to say that this is some dialogue heavy “think piece” without any real tension or suspense.  We get some genuinely shocking scenes that will keep you glued to the story as it unfolds.  I really can’t emphasize enough just how elegantly this movie handles it’s pacing as it starts to unfold.  They even take their time with the disease as it spreads.  There are a series of unusual events that pop up around the neighborhood; nothing earth shattering, but they slowly begin to increase in numbers adding to the general sense of unease.

What We Become is an intimate story of a horrific outbreak (Movie Review)

I was surprised that they chose to use such a 70’s horror style for the musical score.  It’s very reminiscent of Dawn of the Dead or A Nightmare on Elm Street.  However, I don’t feel like it at all detracts from the emotional content.  Something so stylistically specific could easily end up distracting the audience from what they’re watching, but the music is written in such a minimalistic way that it really pulls you into the scenes.

It’s pretty easy to make comparisons with this film and AMC’sThe Walking Dead.  Although in contrast to what we usually see every Sunday night, What We Become takes the development of the character’s ralatioships just a little bit further.  We actually get the opportunity to see how these people lived BEFORE the outbreak, as opposed to The Walking Dead where we only catch a glimpse during the first episode of what their lives used to be like.
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About midway through the film is where things take a drastic shift and unfortunately, not entirely for the better.  This is the point at which things start to go bad for this family and their surrounding neighbors.  Now, this could’ve been another great opportunity to continue to build on the relationships and tension that they’ve established at the beginning.  But instead, everything kinda changes gears and morphs into a rather predictable monster movie.  Now, having said that, this film is still worth the price of admission just for the first two acts alone.  But by the time we reach act three, we don’t really get the kind of pay off that this family deserves.
What We Become is an intimate story of a horrific outbreak (Movie Review)
Summary
Overall I’d say that I really enjoyed this movie for the moments where it pulled me into the relationships.  Despite the somewhat formulaic and predictable moments towards the end, it has some pretty exceptional performances.  Particularly from the child actors, which is rare.  The simplest way to sum up the film would be to describe it as a story about a family growing apart as their children get older.  Which in and of itself is pretty compelling when done right. And they really nail that part of the story.  I look forward to seeing more from Bo Mikkelsen and this cast.

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 “What We Become” arrives in theaters and Digital Download May 13th!

 What We Become is an intimate story of a horrific outbreak (Movie Review)
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Writer, Musician, Composer, Singer and Dancer. To sum up: I like to get jiggy with it!

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