Cine Las Americas presents one of our favorite films from Fantastic Fest 2010, the beautiful Mexican horror film Somos lo que hay (WE ARE WHAT WE ARE) on Monday, June 27 at the Ritz.
We begin with tragedy, with a man comfortably past middle age spitting up blood and collapsing dead in the middle of a busy public walkway. Though he is a nondescript man—such a nobody that he is simply dragged away by local cleaners and the police never bother any serious attempt at identifying him—he is quite important in the lives of the three teenaged children he leaves behind and the spouse he leaves a widow. That the family is left bereaved is nothing surprising; this is a normal consequence of a death, but it cuts a little deeper here.
You see, this family has a difference, they follow strict, cannibalistic religious rites and with father gone they are thrown into complete disarray. Who will perform the rites? What—i.e. who—will they eat? And who is going to do the hunting? And so, much like LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, what we have here is a film built on a horror premise—and this does, indeed, become quite horrific—but which is as much, if not more, a family drama and teen coming of age story. For the mantle of leadership, it seems, must fall on Alfredo, an introverted teen who wants nothing to do with the responsibility but must take on the mantle if his family is to survive despite the objections of his mother and moderately sociopathic brother.
Beautifully shot and constructed, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE is a truly unique animal, built masterfully by Grau. Audiences coming in looking for gore must be patient. This is a character picture much more than a full blooded horror and though the cannibal sequences are shockingly graphic when they arrive, Grau takes his time getting there. (Todd Brown, Twitchfilm)