Somos lo que hay (Original title)
Mexican writer/director Jorge Michel Grau has crafted a powerful debut feature which seamlessly blends horror and art cinema into a potent social allegory which has the family at its centre. Although Grau downplays the horror elements of his narrative, the decision to use certain generic signifiers offers a potential new direction for an increasingly unadventurous national cinema that seems more preoccupied in genuflecting at the altar of past glories. For much of the films running time this is a family melodrama, but one which becomes increasingly desperate and hysterical. With this increase in tension comes certain plot revelations that propels the frantic family into a series of actions that eventually lead to disunity and downfall. The film opens with the death of the family patriarch in a modern shopping mall. After riding the gleaming escalators the man stares with undisguised hunger at a series of shop mannequins, before throwing up black vomit and expiring on the spotless white floor tiles. Within seconds of his death his corpse has been carted off and his mess mopped up. The swiftness and efficiency of his removal in this middle class consumerist space is easily the most troubling aspect of this opening. We soon discover that not only was this bedraggled chap the head of the family, but also the hunter. For we are in the company of a family of modern day cannibals. His addiction to whores, and the implicated disease ridden nature of their flesh, not only costs him his life, but plunges his family into crisis.
© Shaun Anderson 2011