We Are What We Are (Blu-ray Review)

Are you hungry?  I hope so because the Parker family would love to have you over for dinner.  However, let me provide a word to the wise.  If you are squeamish at all when it comes to gory moments in horror films, make sure you fill your belly first before viewing We Are What We Are as it may be awhile before you eat again, particularly red meat.  Honest to God, I have not taken in a single piece of red meat since viewing this feature On Demand several weeks ago.  I suppose I’ll be healthier for it, but this movie conjures a lot of memories in my mind every time I see a silver cooking pot, a soup bowl or a hunk of beef.  So maybe I should be thanking the filmmakers here for making me a healthier eater, huh?  I suppose I should, but I digress.  So today, without further ado, we are here to talk about one hell of a shocking horror film finally making waves on the Blu-ray format after being available On Demand and digitally for weeks now.  Ladies and gentlemen…We Are What We Are or as I like to call “We Are What We Eat.”

We Are What We Are


Now what I did not know about this feature was the fact that it was a remake or as they classify it as a reimagining of a 2010 Mexican film of the same name.  However, we’re strictly going to address and cover this 2013 American version directed by Jim Mickle.  It was screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and in the the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.  And best of all, this film has received mostly favorable reviews including mine here!

The film follows the adventures of the Parker family after a deadly storm washes through their quaint town and tragically takes the life of Emma Parker (Kassie Wesley DePaiva), mother of three and wife to Frank Parker (Bill Sage).  Up until now, the Parkers have mostly kept to themselves, and for very good reasons let me tell you.  Behind closed doors, Frank rules his family with a tight iron fist and as you will find out he will do everything in his power at all costs to ensure a certain annual custom is upheld.  Now that Emma is gone, Frank’s daughters Iris (Ambyr Childers) and Rose (Julia Garner) are forced to assume their mother’s former responsibilities.  Let’s just say their responsibilities are unlike those of any typical family.  It’s not wash these dishes or take this trash out kind of easy if you’re picking up what I’m dropping here.

Just like in The Human Centipede, the creepiness factor is all abound here in this feature, but wouldn’t you know it.  Just like like The Human Centipede, the police stick their noses in places where our villains, from a certain point of view, don’t want them to.  Oh well.  It’s time the Parkers take matters into their own hands, huh?  Throw in a pesky doctor into the mix who’s daughter went missing many years ago and you have one hell of a conundrum because you know Frank’s daughters are not fully on board with their father’s devious ways either, are they?  It seems like a lot of different convergent points can happen here, huh?  Damn right they can!

The films also stars the likes of Jack Gore, Michael Parks, Kelly McGillis and Wyatt Russell.  Now, I never do this, but I wanted to share the following quotes of critical praise below so I can make absolutely sure I’m getting my point across just as superlatively as these do.  So I apologize in advance for any repetition, but these below quotes are spot on in my opinion.

“The Silence of the Lambs finally has a worthy successor,” said Matt Barone of Complex. William Bibbiani of Crave Online called it “a genuinely creepy descent into gothic horror.”

“The most shocking movie ending you’ll see this year,” raved David Onda at xfinity.com.

Film Threat‘s Brian Tallerico called it the “strongest the genre has seen in years.”

The film “withholds its greatest shock for the end,” said Tim Grierson of Screen International.

“Childers and Garner are absolutely mesmerizing as Iris and Rose,” said the Los Angeles Times‘ Betsy Sharkey.

 The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney had high praise, writing: “The film is that rare modern horror movie that doesn’t simply fabricate its scares with the standard bag of postproduction tricks. Instead it builds them via a bracing command of traditional suspense tools … This is polished film craft.”

I like to talk about the one quote that deals with the shocking end.  Is it ever!  Wow!  In my opinion, We Are What We Are is a very slow burner much like that of the brilliant The Others with a visceral gore factor not seen since that of The Woman.  And while some of the acting could be considered questionable, there’s no denying that Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers, who reminds me of a very young Reese Witherspoon, Julia Garner and even the very young Jack Gore all bring their A-games here.  Honestly, they are what sold it for me.  So yeah, I was very much reminded of The Others, strength in the plot wise, but it’s not a supernatural tale.  Not at all.  The subject matter is more brutal, visceral and inline with The Woman as I mentioned already.  I’m just recapping all of this as I’m trying to paint an explicit and accurate picture of what you’re getting yourself into should you choose to spend some quality time with the Parker family.  I truly hope I did my job as I cannot commend this film enough.  This was to me what Lords of Salem was to so many in 2013, a throwback to the classic horror genre we all know and love without any of the torture porn or cheap slasher scares.


Here’s the weird thing.  I honestly thought it was my cable’s picture quality when I was watching this for the first time.  Nope!  Entertainment One’s MPEG-4 AVC encode, framed in a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio, really is a rough one.  Even though it’s shot on the Red Epic, it’s intentionally squeezed and dried to look the way it does.  The picture quality of We Are What We Are is what it is, not a very pretty one.  Don’t expect a lot of vibrancy and color from this one.  It could have been made like Sin City and just bled the occasional red.  LOL.  And guess what?  There is also noise during the blackest of scenes.  Boo!  Of course, with almost all Blu-ray presentations, you’ll find some scenes of superior quality with fine detail, etc., but for a modern day release…wow!  I want this one to look so much better.  However, once again, we will chalk it up to it is what it is.  If you like drab and stylization infused in making things look drab, then you’ve come to the right place!


Unlike the video department up above, the audio one is much more robust of a presentation thanks to the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless surround track Entertainment One employs here.  From the aggressive rainstorm to the creepy ambience that engulfs and drowns you in your viewing room, this is how things should sound.  My original experience of watching this On Demand was only in stereo so I welcomed this submergence into the world of 5.1 with wide, open arms.  So we have bass, check.  Surround sound, check.  What about dialog?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Dialog levels are loud, clean and understandable throughout.  The only reason this score is not higher here is because this is a quiet track.  There’s a lot of silence and soft moments abound, so it also makes it a tricky one too.  However, I’m quite happy with it since we already said this one is what it is.  You getting sick of me saying that yet?  Okay!  I’ll stop.


You wouldn’t really expect the Blu-ray release of We Are What We Are to have a robust selection of USDA choice meats to choose from in this department, would you?  Of course not!  However, we do have an audio commentary that’s quite informative and a heavy making of featurette that’s a very pleasant surprise to say the least.  The only thing we are missing from traditional new Blu-ray releases as of late is a second disc containing the film on DVD or the much sought after Digital Copy.  So we’ll make the best of it and work with what we have here.  Sound like a plan?

  • An Acquired Taste: The Making of We Are What We Are (HD, 55:09) – Holy cow!  I never would have seen this one coming from a small independent film like this.  Here’s one heck of an in-depth look at the making of this film.  Wow!  This one got my blood pumping because other than the audio commentary, there’s not much happening here in this department.
  • Interviews (HD, 16:18) – This one is kind of self-explanatory, but here we have interviews with director Jim Mickle, cast members Bill Sage and Julia Garner
  • Audio Commentary – This audio commentary track features director Jim Mickle along with Nick Damici, Julia Garner, Bill Sage and Ryan Samul.  Their dialogue alone is kind of like a making of the film.  It’s highly conversational, but purposeful.  I like!
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:32) – This is what it is…dun…dun…da…the film’s theatrical trailer!


While we did not receive a Blu-ray review copy of We Are What We Are on the site here, I simply could not let this one go unnoticed in the eyes of our readers.  I purchased this Blu-ray with my own monies because I really love the film and dig its payoff despite the murky presentation.  Go forth and prosper however you want, but I encourage fans of slow burning horror films to at least give this one a look-see whenever you get a chance.  Who knows?  You just may well bloody like it and stop eating red meat at the same time like me!

We Are What We Are came out on Blu-ray last week, January 7th, but you can help support our site and keep it running smoothly by ordering it here.  Thanks!


2 Responses to “We Are What We Are (Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Aaron Neuwirth

    I’ve heard good things about this one.

  2. Brian White

    You heard right.
    I was bummed we did not get a review copy, but that did not stop me from purchasing one and spreading the good word of this movie that needs to be seen!