Tom Humberstone

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horror month - day 24

We Are What We Are (2013)

"It is with love that I do this."

Quick summary: When their mother dies, the Parker children and their father try to pick up the pieces, with the eldest daughter - Iris - having to take on her mother's responsibilities. Which aren't terribly pleasant.

I was all ready to sit down and watch the 2010 Mexican original of this - Somos Lo Que Hay - because when has an American remake of a brilliant foreign language horror film ever added anything? Usually, it just leads to less effective, higher budget special effects (The Ring), a defanged ending (The Vanishing) or <insert some disparaging remark directed at Let Me In because I've not seen it but I bet it's not as good as the original>. But an AV Club review of the film popped up in my feed with the headline "An American Horror Remake That Transcends The Original" - which changed my mind at the last minute.

I'm glad it did. It makes the most of it's relocation to America - forging a backstory that plays into American gothic mythology and playing with a twisted family religion (though I'm not convinced we actually needed the flashbacks to the 18th century). And the direction is beautiful - letting the camera linger on small details of the flood that is slowly unearthing the Parker family's secrets, and revealing the strong bond between the children in quiet, small moments. According to the AV Club piece, the film also changes the gender roles from the original - letting this version explore patriarchal themes as well.

I wish I had the time to stick the original on as well so I could compare the two properly - hopefully I can fit it in before the month is out but I'm fast running out of evenings!

It's always a pleasure to see Michael Parks! And the rest of the actors are great too. Particularly Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner who play the teenage Parkers.

"Did you eat my daughter?"

Tonight: Time for my introduction to Ti West with The House of the Devil (2009) I reckon.