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Review: 'We Are What We Are'

February 14, 2014 2:47 a.m.

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando reviews the remake "We Are What We Are" and speaks with its director Jim Mickle.

Related Story: Review/Interview: 'We Are What We Are'

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

ANCHOR INTRO: KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando put the horror film remake We Are What We Are on her 10 best list for 2013. But the only way to get the film screened in San Diego was to track it down and get the Digital Gym Cinema to run it for one night.

You don’t know how frustrating it was last year to see the vacuous remake of the 70s horror film “Carrie” open wide in theaters and the exquisite American remake of the Mexican film “We Are What We Are” open nowhere in town. Jim Mickle did everything right in tackling the remake of Jorge Michel Grau’s contemporary horror tale. He was hesitant to take it on and only did so once he figured out a way to make the material his own. The twist he found was to take this tale of modern day cannibalism and give it a religious, Puritan spin, endowing it with a sense of ritual.

CLIP What about Lamb’s day daddy?... We’ll do it the way we’ve always done it. Two days and we will carry on.

JIM MICKLE: “There’s a lot of beauty and stylistically to a lot of religion and a lot of ritual and religious ceremony so we wanted to keep that aspect as much as we could and really make that the scary part.”

Mickle says it was frustrating trying to convince people that horror and beauty can work brilliantly together. He says horror is a much more “flexible genre than anyone gives it credit for.” By making an elegantly shot film with angelic young girls faced with horrific choices from their own loving father, he sets the horror off in bold relief.

“We Are What We Are,” playing Saturday at 9pm at the Digital Gym Cinema, is not just a stunning remake but a provocative film about the horrors we can find within the usual comforts of family and tradition.

Beth Accomando, KPBS News.