Review by Paul Grammatico
Natural disasters are never a fun event. Growing up in tornado country, I’ve had my fair share of severe thunderstorms, hail, and tornado watches and warnings. When I experienced a tornado, we had to huddle in the primary room in the house as there was no basement or cellar available. As the tornado ripped past our cottage, the vulnerability at the hands of mother nature along with its aftermath was something to behold. Produced by The Coven and distributed by IFC Midnight, We Need to Do Something gives us a taste of not only forces of nature and darkness that are beyond our humanity, but how a trapped family displays its dysfunction.
A family consisting of Robert (Pat Healy), his wife Diane (Vinessa Shaw), his young son Bobby (John James Cronin), and his teenage daughter Melissa (Sierra McCormick) take refuge in their bathroom during a severe thunderstorm. When the thunderstorm evolves into a possible tornado, a lightning strike hits a tree which falls onto their house, trapping the family in their smallish space. As they try to find a way out, we are given a glimpse into many of the family’s flaws. Robert is a massive alcoholic (his ingestion of mouthwash and alcohol swabs are any indication), Diane has taken another lover and Bobby is an obnoxious know-it-all. Melissa has something much darker going on with her as she and her girlfriend Amy (Lisette Alexis) dabble in the dark arts. They cast a spell of necromancy on another high school student which manifests itself within the house in the aftermath of the storm. Enclosed within their small confines and meeting up with unfortunate events, this maladjusted family attempts to keep their sanity and their unit together as they fight to stay alive.
Based on a novella by Max Booth III who also wrote the screenplay and directed by Sean King O’Grady, We Need to Do Something proves a hesitant, superficial glimpse into how this family went wrong. While this familial structure shows each of their components flaws, its uncertain on how they got to this broken place in their lives.
While this film had moments of suspense and terror, there were other times that the drama within the family along with the scenes of blood and gore, became over the top with many of the montages having a Monty-Pythonesque type humour to it. Thus, with this duality in the film, it gives the film an identity crisis, never knowing if it should be scary or funny.
The performances are, for the most part, competent but due to the superficial level of the characters and the level of acceptance we must provide them, there are many questions to their behaviour, their actions, and more importantly, why this group stays together. Although the flaws of these characters have some entertainment value, it’s obvious that these family ties should have been severed some time ago and yet the bonds are still there.
We Need to Do Something is a bewildering film that has an ability to either incur terror or laughter at each turn. If you venture a view, know that your poison may be someone’s meat, your agony, another’s treat.
We Need to do Something is on digital 25 October from Blue Finch Film Releasing.