I’m a fan of locked perspective movies and “We Need to Do Something” has one of the most effective POVs in a long time. This is essentially the end of the world as seen through the eyes and experience of one family trapped in their bathroom. Even the crazy twists of this story that didn’t quite manage to impress me with their ambition in a film that went so dark and narratively insane.
Based on the Max Booth III novel of the same name (and with a script by the author), “We Need to Do Something” opens with a family taking refuge in their imposing bathroom during a crazy storm. When their cell phones issue a tornado warning, they take cover and wait to see what happens next. Princess Melissa (Sierra McCormick) connects to her phone, trying to contact someone important in her life and find out if they are safe. Son Bobby (John James Cronin) balances his fears with being in the comforting arms of his family. Mom Diane (Vinessa Shaw) tries to assuage Bobby’s fears while fending off passive-aggressive attacks from Dad Robert (Pat Healy)). Obviously there is bad blood between parents. It will be worse.
After the blinding bright light and intense noise outside, Robert tried to open the bathroom door only to find it blocked by a tree that had fallen into their house. They are trapped. Being cooped up in the bathroom with your family and no food or supplies is bad enough, but things get a lot worse when it’s revealed that something other It begins with a talking demon dog voiced by Ozzy Osbourne of all people to give you an idea of the real Satanic situation in which this family finds itself. And that terror is compounded not only by their limited understanding of what’s going on outside their home—which feels very 2020—but the fact that Robert is a pretty lame excuse for a father and a man. Oh, and then there’s the snake.
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What I love most about “We Need to Do Something” is the feeling that I really don’t know what to do next. Horror is often a predictable genre, but O’Grady and Booth often manage to turn left when you’d expect the film to turn right. They also infuse their tone with a dark comedy stream that reminds me of the work of ’80s Sam Raimi and other filmmakers who admit that it’s okay to laugh at situations that are particularly disturbing. Pat Healy’s work helped set this tone, turning his dad from Hell to 11 with wide eyes and screaming line delivery. He was every patriarch who realized only under pressure that he was incapable of handling it.
Regardless of how much of a limited POV works, some will feel that “We Need to Do Something” at the end is a bit of a stretch, and flashbacks that reveal some of the details of how these guys got here didn’t work for me. However, O’Grady really stuck with it, closing the film in a way that made it feel like a perfect Fall 2021 movie. So much of the world thought it would return to normal in the Spring and Summer only to return to more mandates and precautions.
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