Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the erotic horror movie WE ARE THE FLESH by writer/director Emiliano Rocha Minter. To summarize the story, I will turn to a slightly edited IMDB plot description:
After wandering a ruined city for years in search of food and shelter, two siblings find their way into a strange man's building. The man has spent years living in isolation and makes them a dangerous offer to survive.
Certain art seems created to get a visceral reaction from the viewer. Whether it be a painting that makes us feel uncomfortable or a song that creates anger, we sometimes find ourselves taking in a piece of work that stirs an emotion. This feature falls squarely in that category as it escalates in perversity as it moves along.
The level of depravity in this movie will alienate quite a few people as the violence and sexual deviancy is far outside what we usually see on the silver screen. To try to add some context, the sexuality is more in line with Lars Von Trier's NYMPHOMANIAC in that all of the sex scenes are quite graphic bordering on pornography. The fact that their fleshly desires lead to incest, rape, necrophilia, murder, and cannibalism (not necessarily in that order) will only further serve to turn many audience members away.
Those who stick around will see that the luridness of this picture is actually part of the point. Through all of the depravity it becomes clear that the director is portraying humanity as being made up of people who just want to give in to their base desires. To promote his thesis the director turned out a feature that uses every trick imaginable to try to unsettle the viewer.
Early on, we are treated to a manic drum solo which the camera spins about wildly which pretty well sets the mood. The score itself is composed of low, nearly earthquake like, hums and tones which occasionally give way to classic music or pop rock. While the latter part of that sentence may seem normal, the shifts in more traditional music tend to happen when something truly unnerving is on the screen.
The visuals themselves vary from more traditionally shot scenes to off kilter or manic camera movements. Tricks such as this keep the viewer on unsteady footing as the seemingly normal gives way to the strange. One of the most noticeable oddities in this film is the red cavern room which is often shot with the camera just slightly off center. The crimson hue that defines this room plays right into the scenes of passion and violence that take place within its confines.
To be honest, I felt at the end that this was an exercise in style over substance. Within the first half hour or so I figured out the direction of the film and spent the rest of the time just watching things devolve. Apart from the shock value of this piece, there is nothing that was done within it that would draw me back to watch it again nor to give it as a recommendation.
All in all, this is a daunting film that will be appreciated by a very specific segment of viewers. Fans of Lars Von Trier will probably find a lot to love about this picture as it hits on many of the themes he tends to enjoy exploring with a more compact runtime. Personally, I would rather spend my time on other endeavors.
The Creeping Craig
WE ARE THE FLESH will be making it's North American Premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival on July 22nd at 11:55pm at the J.A. De Seve Theatre