Weather Updates

‘We Are What We Are’: A Thanksgiving tradition of cannibalism

Updated: October 11, 2013 12:01AM

Think of Thanksgiving with no turkey. Once a year, the Parker family gives thanks to God for life in America by dining on a woman they have captured and cooked. It’s a tradition dating back to that very hard winter of 1781.

“We Are What We Are” (Rated R; 105 minutes) is set on a rainy weekend in Delaware County. Mrs. Parker dies on an errand in town. Doc suspects a rare virus. Rain dislodges bones near the ancestral Parker place. Inquiries ensue. A family implodes with a biting commentary on patriarchy.

Parker sisters Iris (Ambyr Childers, “The Master”) and Rose (Julia Garner, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”) are anemic blondes with a luminous aura. Their little brother, a fan of Snap Pops cereal, is played by someone actually named Jack Gore.

Director and editor Jim Mickle and his co-writer Nick Damici, who plays a sheriff, craft a hybrid art/horror film. Coming from Sundance and Cannes, and opening Friday at the Music Box, “We Are What We Are” is “a re-imagining” of Jorge Michel Grau’s “Somos lo que hay.” Set in Mexico City, that cannibal tale with social commentary won a Silver Hugo Special Jury Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival 2010. Rating: ★★★

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.