We Are the Flesh (2016) Movie Review

Recently, PopHorror got an inside look at the trailer for We Are the Flesh, a Spanish post-apocalyptic film due to be released this month. To say we were excited was an understatement. Now, just a few days later, we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to see We Are the Flesh in all of its glory. Was it as gritty and dark as the trailer implied? Or we were left with just another letdown?

Also known as Tenemos La Carne, Arrow Films’ We Are the Flesh will be released in theaters this January 20th in select cities including LA, San Antonio, Laredo, El Paso, Houston, Denver, New Orleans, San Francisco, Columbus, Phoenix, Cleveland, Portland and Albuquerque. The film was directed by Emiliano Rocha Minter, a newcomer to feature films, and stars Noé Hernández (Miss Bala 2011), María Evoli (De Amores y Abarrotes 2015) and newcomer Diego Gamaliel. The film has already been praised by some pretty big names, including Oscar-winning Mexican directors Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 2004) and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (The Revenant 2015) while also winning the Séquences Award for Best Film at Fantasia and nominations for Best First Film and the FIPRESCI Prize at the Rotterdam International Film Festival.

After the end of the world, a young brother and sister roam an apocalyptic city looking for food and shelter. They take refuge in the dilapidated lair of a strange hermit who makes them a dangerous offer to survive. He puts them to work building a bizarre cavernous structure, where he acts out his insane and depraved fantasies. Trapped in a maddening, womb-like world under his malign influence, they find themselves sinking into the realms of dark and forbidden behavior.

Let me start off by saying this: We Are the Flesh is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I’m not one to partake in art house films or deep thinking, existential fantasies. I watch movies to be entertained and that’s about it. I’m not an educated movie snob – so sue me. For me, We Are the Flesh was a combination of abstract surrealism and the act of being beaten over the head with the same point over and over again… like the movie couldn’t decide if I needed a bunch of “help” to get it or if they thought I was actually right there channeling the filmmaker’s brain waves. I’m not saying I didn’t like it, but I am wondering what the point of a lot of it was supposed to be.

Once the world ends, all there is left are pleasures of the flesh.

The hermit (Hernández) was certainly insane. Although it’s never actually spoken out loud, the fact that he regularly distills what appears to be moonshine/ethanol in huge plastic barrels makes me wonder if this is what caused his madness. As the movie continues on, both the brother and sister end up partaking, and once that happens, all three of them go off the deep end. I’m still unsure if We Are the Flesh is a true post-apocalyptic tale or an alcohol-fueled dream. It could seriously go either way.

I will say that it was beautifully shot. The caverns that the trio build in their abandoned apartment building world glow with muted, alien light that emphasized the talk of birth, rebirth and fetuses. The incest/sex scenes were intense yet awkward and painful to watch. Only half of the participants were willing in many scenes. The fact that, most of the time, they were incestual siblings only makes it all the worse. This film is gritty to the point of needing a shower after viewing, but it’s also beautiful in a way, too. There’s an underlining theme of escapism and doing what you want, despite what society thinks you should do. Does that make it the right choice? In most cases, probably not. But the temptation is there for everyone. Sure, most people aren’t harboring fantasies of screwing their own siblings, but I digress.

Final Thoughts

I was left feeling disturbed and unsettled by We Are the Flesh. Even a few days later, I’m still unsure how I feel about this film. The only thing left to say is that you have to see it for yourself and make your own judgments. I’m dying to see what you all say about this Spanish soft porn horror. Don’t leave me hanging – drop a comment and let me know what you thought.

About Tracy Allen

As the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of PopHorror.com, Tracy has learned a lot about independent horror films and the people who love them. Now an approved critic for Rotten Tomatoes, she hopes the masses will follow her reviews back to PopHorror and learn more about the creativity and uniqueness of indie horror movies.

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  1. I had a chance to screen this at Fantastic Fest 2016 with a packed house. When the end credits started rolling the room was awkardly silent. I had to take a moment to recall what I had just witnessed. No doubt people were disturbed around me, whipering things like “WTF was that?” which made it a bit more exciting. The film stayed with me for several days after, and had enough of an effect on me to run off and tell others about it, the only problem was I found myself saying “this definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking to challenge yourself, give it a try”. It is inspirational film making in the “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks, I’m making what I want” sense, but most won’t be rushing out to give it a second watch, the first time was draining enough. Bravo for leaving the audience with mixed emotions, hell any emotions, but I think the message of the film gets a little overshadowed by the shock value. I’m still not sure if there is a message.

    • Thanks for the response! IT was definitely ones of the movies where you left thinking what the hell did I just watch?!

  2. I totally agree about the message being overshadowed by the shock value. How you feel about a film after it’s over is what you take away from it. I honestly walked away feeling like I had just left a Spanish David Lynch porn, so any actual message trying to be found in here was totally lost to me. If I sit and think about it, I can tell what the director was trying to say, but it’s certainly not the first thing I think of when I think about We Are the Flesh.