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Surviving Cinema - We Are What We AreA film I directed 2nd Unit on, We Are What We Are, premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, Friday, January 18th.  It continued to be devoured by film fest audiences through January 26th.  This bizarre horror/drama about a family of cannibals stars Michael Parks (Grindhouse, Red State), Bill Sage (American Psycho, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire), Kassie Wesley DePaiva (Evil Dead 2), Ambyr Childers (Playback, The Master), Julia Garner (Electrick Children, The Last Exorcism Part II), Wyatt Russell (Cowboys & Aliens), and Kelly McGillis (Top Gun, Witness, The Innkeepers).

I saw a work-in-progress edit of We Are What We Are a couple of months before it made its debut in Park City.  I loved the film.  Even after being on set for the entire shoot, I was impressed with the atmosphere, drama, and tension director Jim Mickle sculpted in the assembled movie.  I was proud to have personally contributed to such an exceptional motion picture.

I screened the work-in-progress edit of the film knowing that it had already been accepted at Sundance.  So, in the back of my mind I wondered if the festival response would be as positive as my own.  Having worked on the film, I was, perhaps, a bit biased… audiences and critics could have a completely different reaction to it.

Surviving Cinema - WyattJanuary brought good news: We Are What We Are was a major hit at Sundance, unnerving enthusiastic audiences, and gathering great reviews.  

An excellent review by Variety noted that Bill Sage as Frank Parker “is a genuinely menacing antagonist…”  Gore-hounds will be happy to see the same review spotlight Brian Spears, creator of the “lurid makeup effects, which have guts spilling -- and stomachs churning -- in all the right places.”  Feast upon the full review here.

The Hollywood Reporter raved that “Mickle and his collaborators have taken one of the more lurid horror subgenres, the predatory cannibal movie, and treated it with stylistic restraint, narrative integrity and even moments of gentle lyricism.”  Sink your teeth into the full review here.

Bloody Disgusting praised We Are What We Are’s script, raved about the cast, and said the film is “undeniably one good-looking piece of cinema.”  Slice yourself off a look at the full review here.

Blogcritics also gave high praise to the film’s script and cast, calling Bill Sage “terrifying as the tyrannical father,” and naming We Are What We Are “the best of the bunch” among Sundance’s horror offerings.  Dig in to the full review here.

Of course, be sure to read this exclusive full-course FEARnet interview with director Jim Mickle, conducted by Brian Tallerico.

Before the final screening of We Are What We Are even took place at Sundance, a distribution bidding war transpired, and the details of a theatrical release through eOne were hammered out.  The general public will have its opportunity to gobble up We Are What We Are before this year is over.

I was a Jim Mickle fan before I had the opportunity to work with him, so even if I had nothing to do with We Are What We Are, I’d be happy about the major splash it made at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival – and I would be eager to see it.  Witnessing the waves of praise makes me very proud of the movie, proud of everyone who worked on it, and proud of my own contributions as 2nd Unit director.  Now I’m eager for you to see the film.  When I know details about the film’s release, I’ll be sure to serve ‘em up here at FEARnet for all you hungry horror fans.

Thanks for reading.

- Eric Stanze

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