Written by Shannon McGrew
There is nothing more uncomfortable than watching a film and absolutely disliking 98% of what you’ve just viewed. As a film critic, I try to find the silver lining in all films, something that will make me want to come back again, but there are those rare instances where there is absolutely nothing. That is the case for the Mexican horror/fantasy film “We Are The Flesh” from director Emiliano Rocha Minter. The film proved to be a festival favorite, inciting controversy and strong reactions from those who had the chance to view it. I’m a fan of controversial films, and by no means would I consider myself a prude, but creating a film that is clearly all about the shock with little substance or merit is not something I enjoy watching.
“We Are The Flesh” is a post-apocalyptic horror film centered around siblings who find an abandoned building run by a mysterious man, who offers them shelter and food in exchange for them acting out his depraved fantasies. The film stars Noe Hernandez, Maria Evoli and Diego Gamaliel and includes subject matter such as incest, rape, necrophilia and explicit violence along with fetishism that touches upon urine and menstruation. It’s a non-stop ride on the crazy train with no end in site. The film has a runtime of 79 minutes, yet it felt like a 3 hour movie that assaulted you at every turn. It’s one of those films that wants to be important, artistic, maybe even moving, but in the end, it’s just a heaping pile of crude and vile subject matter that doesn’t make sense with anything that is going on in the story.
Now that you know my true feelings on the subject, let’s get into the acting. To be quite honest, the acting isn’t that bad. There is some talent here and it’s one of the few things that made watching this film bearable. I would love to see these actors in different roles that allow them to explore their acting chops more. It definitely takes a level of risk to make a film such as this, so I commend them for going all out, I would just have liked to have seen more of their talent and less close-ups of their genitalia. The other aspect of this film that I did actually like was the color palette used. The film started off with more muted colors, in gray and brown tones, and slowly transformed into bright neon colors, which I can only imagine were symbolic to the “passion” that was unfolding. I did appreciate the color choices and it made aspects of the film more tolerable to watch.
In terms of scares, there weren’t any. Again, this film was about shock value and not scares. It wanted to make you as uncomfortable as humanly possible without anything to back it up. I’ve watched films such as “A Serbian Film” and “Martyrs” and understood, to a degree, where the director was coming from. I was uncomfortable and disturbed with those films but not absolutely disgusted like I was with “We Are The Flesh.” In terms of violence and gore, there was a plenty, so if you are a gore hound, you will probably be satisfied. The gore wasn’t a big deal for me, as it was just like anything else you would find in a horror film, had they had some interesting kills or tried to do something unique then I may have been more on board, but it was the same tripe scenarios you would see in any other horror film. In regards to sex, that was what this film was all about. As I mentioned above, they delved into incest with a fine toothed comb and it’s uncomfortable to watch. I really feel like one of the goals of this film was to see how far they could push the envelope with the constant images of genitalia and fetishism. There is nothing wrong with nudity, it’s something I feel like should be embraced more in our culture, but repeatedly showing rape or incest is definitely something I have a problem with. If you have no merit or reason to add it to your film, then why do it?
Overall, this is one of those films that I can’t recommend to people. I’m sure after reading this review a lot of you will add this to your queue of movies to watch due to its controversial nature; however, I implore you to seek out something different with more substance. This isn’t a film that is breaking stereotypes or creating a message, it’s just trying to shock you because there is nothing else for this film to stand on. Do yourself a favor and skip over this one, there are way too many other quality films out there.