Director: Jim Mickle
Stars: Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Bill Sage, Michael Parks, Kelly McGillis, Wyatt Russell, Nick Damici, Jack Gore
Jim Mickle is more than ready for his close-up. Quietly, the independent writer-director is the horror genre's most gifted young talent, a compelling mix of Terrence Malick and a young Wes Craven. Although his films don't chump out on the gore and violence, Mickle's style of scary moviemaking is impressively elegant, putting heavy emphasis on characters, cinematography, and patient, human narratives. See his 2011 vampire flick Stake Land, or just go directly to his latest, the cannibal drama We are What We Are, his best movie yet.
A remake of Mexican filmmaker Jorge Michel Grau's grim 2011 festival darling of the same name, Mickle's We are What We Are is the rarest of genre re-imaginings, one that's much better than its predecessor and doesn't merely rehash what's already been done. Mickle and writing partner Nick Damici move the story flesh-eating family dynamic to rural upstate New York, centering on a God-fearing, subtly tyrannical patriarch (a menacing Bill Sage) and his two teenage daughters (Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner), both of whom want to drop their family's history of ritualistic cannibalism and live like normal kids. Daddy doesn't want that for them, unfortunately, and We are What We Are shows the family's disintegration, one murder and intestine feast at a time.
It's a grisly, disturbing horror film that even the most uptight of snooty film critics has to appreciate. In time, Jim Mickle's name will be on all of their minds.