In the “Director’s Fortnight” at the recent Cannes Film Festival in May was yet another Sundance entry, "We Are What We Are" , which opens Oct 5 in San Francisco (Century San Francisco Centre 9 and XD). Director Jim Mickle takes a detour from today’s onscreen vampire saturation to present a tale of cannibalism within a religious family, complete with a sketchy historical rundown for this practice. In the beginning moments of the film, a leaf covered with raindrops and shown in close-up makes its way down a small stream in the wilderness. The scene foreshadows how the rain will eventually lead the law to exposing this flesh-eating enclave lead by Father Parker (Bill Sage).
In a small role, Kelly McGillis ("The Accused" 1988, "Top Gun" 1986 "Witness" 1985) plays neighbour Marge, whose photo was not even in the press release for the film at Cannes. McGillis is back. "We Are What We Are" was shot not far from her home in North Carolina. She declares that she is happy doing character roles now and that the roles she is best known for were perfect for that time. She is unrecognisable in the film but every much the veteran actress, with just too little to do. Future roles will hopefully be more substantial.
Veteran Michael Parks ("Kill Bill Volume 2" (2004), "Django Unchained" (2012) gets more screen time as Doc Barrow, but again had no photo in the critics’ publicity packages. This is because the film is aimed at the young and hungry.
Early on, Emma, the wife and mother of Father Frank Parker’s children Rose, Iris and Rory drowns in a ditch after hitting her head on a pipe. This is after we see her profusely bleeding from the mouth. As it turns out cannibalism is one of the factors that causes Parkinson’s disease, the probable cause of Emma's death. Doc Barrow discovers this and later his dog finds bones sticking out of the ground, and so the noose on the cannibalistic order tightens. Meanwhile, the emerging sexuality of Father Parker’s daughters (excellent roles for emerging actresses Ambyr Childers and Julia Gardner) is one of the preoccupations of the film, and as they grow to maturity they face the impending burden of taking over the family tradition. The question of whether they are interested or not in doing what it takes to abduct victims and eat them is left open.