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Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: A middle-aged man dies in the street, leaving his widow and three children destitute. The devastated family is confronted not only with his loss but with a terrible challenge - how to survive. For they are cannibals. They have always existed on a diet of human flesh consumed in bloody ritualA middle-aged man dies in the street, leaving his widow and three children destitute. The devastated family is confronted not only with his loss but with a terrible challenge - how to survive. For they are cannibals. They have always existed on a diet of human flesh consumed in bloody ritual ceremonies... and the victims have always been provided by the father. Now that he is gone, who will hunt? Who will lead them? How will they sate their horrific hunger? The task falls
    to the eldest son, Alfredo, a teenage misfit who seems far from ready to accept the challenge... But without human meat the family will die. Shocking, bloody and deeply moving, We Are What We Are is a remarkable reinvention of the horror genre - a visceral and powerfully emotional portrait of a family bound by a terrible secret and driven by monstrous appetites. (IFC Films)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Feb 18, 2011
    91
    Representing lower-class violence taken to an extreme, the cannibalism cannot be contained by police work. The movie's gradual build to a thrilling, appropriately bloody climax intensifies this disconnect.
  2. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    Feb 14, 2011
    80
    Surely cinema's first Mexican social-realist cannibal horror drama, it's grimly funny and at times horribly effective stuff. Ickily excellent.
  3. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Feb 24, 2011
    80
    An unexpectedly rich exploration of family bonds, blood rituals and the oftentimes zombie-like desire to assume the roles proscribed to each of us, played out with a sharp undertow of political allegory and darkly comic sensibility.
  4. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Feb 17, 2011
    75
    Mixing social commentary and black humor with copious amounts of blood and cracking bones, We Are What We Are offers a cannibal's-eye view of Mexico City's seamier side.
  5. Reviewed by: Jeannette Catsoulis
    Feb 17, 2011
    70
    This ghastly scenario of poor preying on poor is, like the film's gray-green palette, profoundly depressing and entirely pitiless.
  6. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Feb 15, 2011
    70
    This promising first feature is nearly as apt to use the power of suggestion as to ladle up the gore, triumphantly creepy, and just arty enough to have secured a slot in last year's New York Film Festival.
  7. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Feb 15, 2011
    20
    You can practically taste the grime in Jorge Michel Grau's art-house horror show-the film looks like it's been slathered with gooey discards from a backyard barbecue.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 3 out of 3
  1. Mar 21, 2012
    2
    I liked two aspects of We Are What We Are. 1. The film has a great opening scene, with a disheveled old man (Humberto Yanez) collapsing andI liked two aspects of We Are What We Are. 1. The film has a great opening scene, with a disheveled old man (Humberto Yanez) collapsing and dying in the middle of a busy shopping mall, and moments later he is swept away by the cleaning staff like a discarded newspaper. The scene requires little explanation to be effective - an old man dies in a public place and is emotionlessly cleared away by the forces of consumerist society in case he should put off the legions of shoppers. The scene is simple, poignant and satirical, a great way to begin a film that aims to comment on the evils of Western civilisation. 2. Enrico Chapela's soundtrack is superb, eerie and memorable, echoing Bernard Hermann's score for Psycho, and adds the ideal ambiance for a horror film. The opening scene and the score were all I liked about We Are What We Are. Taking the film as a whole, it's morally deranged, distressing and lacking in enough effective social commentary to justify putting the viewer through such an experience. I mean, what is the film really trying to say? Cannibals are people too? All families have problems, whether they eat human flesh or not? All the film's "protagonists" are vile, from the psychotic mother (Carmen Beato) to the squabbling passive/aggressive/incestuous siblings (Francisco Barreiro, Alan Chavez and Paulina Gaitan respectively), though I suppose its hard to empathise with someone who might eat you, unless they're as charming and debonair as Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. The filmmakers also never allow us to see the world from any of the family members' points of view, and we are not made privy to enough information to make the plot make much sense at all - for all intents and purposes the family are inhuman, monstrous instigators of morally repulsive life choices, and have no higher purpose in life beyond vague cultish beliefs. If the film was ever intended as a biting (pun intended) social commentary, then it does not succeed - the points the film is making about Mexican society are too muddled and ill-defined, and the horrific spectacle of the film actually detracts from any intellectual aspirations the filmmakers might have had. We Are What We Are does not work well on any level - not as art, entertainment, social commentary or satire. It can only really be called a horror movie because of its gruesome subject matter, but even the cannibalistic sacrifice scenes that dominate the film's latter half aren't scary, they're just nasty, depravity of the lowest order. See it if you must (as I said, the music's good and the opening scene looks like it's come from a different, much better film), just don't expect to enjoy it, or want the memory of it to linger long in your mind. Expand
  2. Mar 14, 2012
    2
    A film that tries to tackle social commentary but collapses in its final act into a farcical violent mess. The films opening 80 minutes doesA film that tries to tackle social commentary but collapses in its final act into a farcical violent mess. The films opening 80 minutes does however have some merit with a detailed look at a warped family dynamic as they prepare for a cannibal ritual following the death of their father by unknown means. The relationships between the family members is unique and disconcerting providing much to think about. That being said in concentrating so much on these family dynamics it fails to relate it to Mexican society or society as a whole. The film drags out its shots when it really doesn't have to in favour of an art house horror aesthetic which overall makes for a very mundane and monotonous viewing experience. The final 10 minutes however are fast, furious and explicitly gory and violent. The gore shown however is over the top, the actions of the characters are ludicrous on the border of otherworldly leading to a section of the film that just doesn't belong, ruining the rest of the film which up to that point was interesting but incredibly dull. The performances are good but not great, the scripting is fine but a side story following two inept police officers is unintentionally hilarious in its execution. Overall its a mismatch of ideas and stories that come together to make one hell of a gory mess that never really feels like a cohesive story leading to an unpleasant feeling of something being left incomplete. A real shame. Expand
  3. Mar 6, 2012
    1
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Unless there is any truth to groups of humans who perform cannibalism this is a titillating way to keep me watching. It has parallels to the outcasts of our nightmares: vampires, zombies, etc. We don't want them to exist, except in film, but can't look away. Everyone is either a cannibal, prostitute or corrupt official. No one to lie, not scary, just nonsensical blood. Almost an "F". Expand

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