The first thing I told Jim Mickle when I interviewed him on September 30, 2013, was that his sublime horror film, WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, had messed me up bad. And then we both laughed. Set in a small town with a long history, it unfolds a story of people who go missing, and the tight-knit family that is the reason for many of those disappearances. When the family’s matriarch meets with a fatal accident, it’s left to the elder daughter to take her place in a secret ritual that the family holds to be a necessary precaution against misfortune. The ritual is murder, followed by an unconventional but solemn communion meal. Far from a gore-fest, though blood does flow, the film is a consideration of the struggle between faith and dogma, tradition and innovation, and of family and individualism, and what happens when the things we do out of love go very,very wrong. Mickle, whose previous films include STAKELAND, which was also rife with social commentary as well as terror, is a guy with a great sense of humor, as well as a keen understanding of just how to terrify an audience using very little in the way of gore.
Our conversation covered how he went about re-inventing the Mexican film on which this one is based, his growing confidence as a filmmaker, and seeing the world the way an alien newly landed from space would. It stars Bill Sage, Nick Damici, Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner, Jack Gore, Wyatt Russell, Kelly McGillis, and Michael Parks. Mickle directed from a script he co-wrote with Damici.