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We Are What We Are (Jim Mickle, 2013)

September 29, 2013

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Jim Mickle’s previous film Stake Land, a post-apocalyptic road movie with a vampiric threat, combined the tone of something like The Road with narrative flourishes (invincible hunter known only as Mister, vampires launched from helicopters like dropping bombs) more akin to comic books. The end result: a laboriously dreary film of poorly-defined characters, trite attempts at grandeur through some insipid narration, and an ill-fitting tone. One sequence showed some promise, however; the aforementioned vampire dropping takes place in a long, unbroken tracking shot of an outdoor party in a refugee town, suddenly disrupted by the threat from above, the only moment the lethargic film gets a pulse and actually visualises a frightening concept well. Mickle’s follow-up feature doesn’t contain an overtly frantic sequence like that, but instead the direction, consistency of an effective tone and building of genuine dread throughout the entire feature proves universally strong. We Are What We Are is not just a remarkable improvement compared to Stake Land, it’s also better than the Mexican film it is based on and one of the best, tensest horror efforts of recent memory…

Click for the full review at Sound on Sight

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