Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We Are the Flesh


   I think it's pretty funny how all of the negative reviews for We Are the Flesh on IMDb cite the movie as pretentious. It might be, or it might not be. I don't think it is, but who am I to say? This movie is nothing if not weird, but I think most people are just disappointed it's not more shocking. It's not a shocking movie, and those expecting to be shocked will probably just be bored. It's up there with Enter the Void and The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears as one of the flat-out weirdest movies I've ever sat through. Do I regret it? Unlike most, I really don't.

   Movies are subjective though, and I feel a lot of it has to do with expectation. I didn't expect strong characterization or a "decent" story from We Are the Flesh. I just expected a ton of body fluids and boy did this movie deliver. It is a horror movie, but its deserving of a different genre label. The movie isn't scary or thrilling as much as it is creepy and uncomfortable, as I believe it was fully meant to be. The numerous sex scenes aren't erotic as much as they are disturbing, and that is part of the point. Or maybe it is, but for me it was. I'm really not sure what people expected from this movie.

   It's like an experimental music video, both experimental in regards to the music and the video separately. The movie is often loud and it's noisiness is accompanied by gorgeously vivid colors and sweeping camera movements. It might be relentlessly odd, but this is the kind of movie I just want to stare at. All of it. The movie follows a brother and sister duo as they stumble across a strange man and his makeshift home in an abandoned building. The movie thrives on a bare-bones post apocalyptic aesthetic. The siblings need a place to live, and food to eat, and this strange man provides them with both- but at what cost?

   His has nonsensical monologues and borderline profound speeches. Which are which? Who knows. Who cares? But actor Noé Hernández sells the hell out of the role, providing cinema with one of the all-time creepiest smiles ever. I wouldn't take a glass of water from this guy in character, let alone a bloody steak as the siblings do. He's creative but clearly insane. Smart but also bonkers and especially manipulative. He rambles on with bizarre conviction about existential loneliness and the meaning of life or whatever. and eventually the sister starts buying into it. This is when things get nuts. And, I do mean nuts.

Totally wasn't kidding.

   The movie plays like a hypnotic drug trip through taboo-land, reveling in its surreal cinematography and lurid content. Rape? Incest? Murder? Cannibalism? Graphic nudity? We Are the Flesh has it all. It's worth its weight in bodily fluids. It seems to celebrate the idea of an orgasm as much as it does the concept of eating human flesh. Of course it fetishizes both. Did you even read the title? Granted, I was hoping for a much more forwardly disturbing movie, and We Are the Flesh is rather low key in that regard. It's creepy and manipulative, much like the crazy man, but its never exactly thrilling, and without any solid plot to hang on to, the movie is just a series of bizarre scenes with each successive one aiming to eclipse the previous in sheer grossness and uncomfortability.

   The siblings help the crazy man create this strange room, which looks like a giant 3D printed womb made out of a wood frame and paper mache. Someone is shot. Someone dies. Someone is alive. People have sex. People eat. Someone writhes around on the floor in embryonic goo. This is We Are the Flesh. It's fuckin' weird and entirely nonsensical. The ending is the most shocking thing of all, and I never saw it coming, but the funny thing is, is that it frames the rest of the movie in a whole new light and makes a disturbing kind of sense. I loved the ending, perhaps more than anything else in the movie. And, as a connoisseur of fuckin' weird movies, that's saying a lot when there's a giant paper mache womb room in the movie.

   Definitely not for everyone, and maybe it wasn't even for me. Did I like it... yes? I don't know. Does it matter? It was an experience I don't regret, which is the most I can say for this movie. The movie seemed like just one big sandbox for the actors and director to go wild in. I'm not sure if it lived up to the hype I had built up around it, because I've been itching to see it for about a year now, but now that I've seen it, and I'm over it, I can get on to anticipating the next movie that promises to deliver copious amounts of vivid colors and sticky body fluids. Woo!

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