Dinner is reheated in the US remake of 2010's satirical Mexican horror yarn. Stakeland director Jim Mickle transfers the premise of a cannibal family fighting to stay together in the modern world from the terrifying sprawl of Mexico City to a rural American backwater. After living on the fringes of the local community for generations, recent developments conspire to bring the clan's unsavoury habits into the open. Credible performances, striking photography and black humour provide the meat for this gristly slice of American gothic.
Full marks to writer/director Jim Mickle and co-writer Nick Damici for realising that a remake has to bring something fresh to the table.
Inverting the original movie, the widowed mother, her two sons and their young daughter are replaced by a brooding dad, his two daughters and a pre-pubescent lad.
Bill Sage chills the bone as the dad - trailer-park owner Frank Parker - forcing his family to honour a generations-old tradition of feeding on human flesh.
As another ritual feast approaches, cracks begin to show between Frank and his two daughters Rose and Iris (Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers) and son Rory (Jack Gore).
And the attentions of town doctor Barrow (Tarantino favourite Michael Parks), grieving the disappearance of his daughter years earlier, could not come at a worse time.
Heavy on atmosphere and with a roster of fine performances. (including Kelly McGillis as a kindly neighbour), We Are What We Are still suffers the same remake malady that blighted Let Me In.
Namely, gutting the original of all but the bare bones of its story but not replacing it with anything substantial, resulting in a shrug of a movie.
Barrow's plodding investigation and unimaginative origin-explaining flashback are no match for the Mexican version's social sting: that the authorities will turn a blind eye to murder as long as it's the poor who are dying.
Only a water motif that runs literally throughout (the rain never stops), uncovering secrets rather than washing away sins, and the climactic grisly banquet you feel would meet with approval from the original's director Jorge Michel Grau.
Not totally unappetising, but little to really chew on.