Thoughts on We Are The Flesh, the most disturbing movie I have seen in 2017

Tenemos la Carne, translated to English as We Are The Flesh, is a Mexican horror movie with a French/Mexican production that had its limited theatrical release in January.

As you can imagine, I put my hands on it very late. In fact, I wasn’t able to check it out until a few days ago.

I’m here, talking about We Are The Flesh, since this film disturbed me quite a bit and was very different from everything else I’ve seen (probably) ever. Also, I’m not taking this title into consideration for my Top 10 Best and Worst horror films of 2017 – yes, I’m going to publish the list at the end of the year; you didn’t see that coming, did you? That’s because I can’t really recommend it to anyone as well as I can’t not recommend it. Weird, right?

We Are The Flesh doesn’t have a proper plot, let alone a linear storyline. We follow Mariano, an apparently insane man who lives alone in a disused flat after a sort of apocalypse happened. Until, one day, his place happens to be found by two siblings. Mariano offers them shelter; the offer, though, comes in exchange for some inhuman and highly disturbing acts brother and sister must comply.

Look, I usually dig disturbing movies, as long as they are impactful on a psychological level. When the violence is corporal, sexually explicit and gratuitous, then I’m bored most of the times – with the exception of Martyrs (2008), which works as a perfect combination of both and, therefore, is one of my all-time favourite horror films.

Anyway, to set the tone for you about We Are The Flesh, I’m going to list up some of the comments this movie got from professional, highly regarded reviewers: “an extreme Mexican fiesta of incest, cannibalism and explicit sex that should earn detractors and fans in equal measure” (Variety); “some viewers will certainly be offended, and others frustrated” (Bloody Disgusting); “this is the kind of visceral, boundary-pushing cinema that will never, ever be accepted by mainstream filmgoers – and will likely be hard going even for those accustomed to transgressive filmmaking” (Dread Central).

I specifically agree with the lads from Dread Central. The key-word, here, is boundary-pushing: the Mexican film addresses the audience with explicit sex-scenes (borderline porn) between siblings; close-ups on genitalia; rape, both homosexual and heterosexual; necrophilia; cannibalism and gore taken to the extreme. You might have seen these features before but, trust me, this time around they’re handled in a totally different way.

Personally, I wouldn’t go thus far to call the director “a sick bastard” and I even respect the actors for the bold and daring roles they played. But I can’t call this movie artistic, either.

Sure, the cinematography is gorgeous, the colour design amazing and the camera-work simply fantastic. Yes, in case you were wondering, We Are The Flesh tries to be a very artsy movie.

However, call me old-fashioned, but the story needs to make sense, at least a tiny bit. Regardless how symbolic your movie is, you can’t completely deconstruct it and turn it into a series of disturbing/disgusting scenes! I mean, you can, but probably people won’t buy it. Also, towards the end the movie goes way overboard and becomes ridiculous, despite the fact that it keeps being quite disturbing.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to be spoon-fed in order to enjoy a movie, but I read the most diverse theories on this film and still feel like its only purpose is to shock and destabilise the audience.

Do I like the movie? Of course not! Do I hate it? I don’t, either. Am I going to watch it again any time soon? I doubt it. Thus, I am not here to recommend you to watch We Are The Flesh (I actually suggest you not to), but if you dare, proceed with caution.