What happens when the patriarch of a family of cannibals suddenly dies and leaves the remaining members to fend for themselves? Writer-director Jorge Michel Grau makes his film debut with We Are What We Are and sheds light and darkness on this topic.

The film opens with a diseased middle-aged man fumbling around in a high-end shopping mall when he collapses abruptly and dies a painful, gut-wrenching death. People are unemotionally walking over his corpse when a cleaning team swiftly comes and takes away the body and any evidence that someone had passed.

Hearing of his death, his scary wife (Carmen Beato), desperate daughter (Paulina Gaitan) and two very different sons (Francisco Barreiro and Alan Chávez) begin to unravel and panic. They must decide who will lead the family on with their traditions and rituals. There is no explanation behind the ritual, only that it exists and it is imperative that the family continues with it.

The film becomes an exploration into the dark world of cannibalism that exists and with more frequency than the city and its officials would like to admit. Taking place in Mexico City, the audience sees both the seedy and nice. We Are What We Are takes viewers on a social and cultural ride through the underground (police corruption, etc.).

During the father’s autopsy, the medical examiner discovers a full finger with nail polish in his stomach, remarking, “It’s shocking how many people eat each other in this city.” Cops brush it off as easily as a rodent issue, with an overwhelming and complete sense of complacency to solve these murders.

We Are What We Are follows the family as they struggle to stay together while they are rapidly falling apart. There is the right amount of suspense, but the audience is kept in the dark for most of the film, which at times can be painstakingly annoying.

This film is definitely more graphic than “Dexter” and not for the faint of heart. With the sound of crackling bones and flesh being torn, make sure you see the movie on an empty stomach.