We Need To Do Something (
Directed by Sean King O’Grady
Starring Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, Pat Healy
Though based on a novella by Max Booth III that was written pre-Covid, this low budget horror movie was made during the pandemic and its “family trapped in isolation” premise, long a main stay of the genre, has become numbingly familiar in both the real world and on screen. Here, a dysfunctional family hole up in their bathroom to ride out an incoming tornado. Melissa (McCormick) is a sullen pink-haired goth, Diane (Shaw) is the protective mum and Robert (Healy) is the twitchy, alcoholic dad. There is a younger son, Bobby played by John James Cronin, but other than a few loaded interjections (like a reference to the witch in The Wizard of Oz) he is, quite literally, room meat.
As the tornado rages, a tree falls on the rest of the house trapping them in the bathroom. That the family make almost no effort to escape until the plot has played out (at which point they seem to find it pretty easy to make a hole in the wall) is something we’re expected to just go along with. In fairness it’s not just a tornado outside but something far worse. See, Melissa and her goth girlfriend have been casting spells and something has gone wrong. An unseen Lovecraftian monster? A demon? The end of the world? Well we do briefly hear an off-screen zombie dog (voiced by Ozzy Osbourne), but otherwise what’s out there is left to the viewer’s imagination.
Aside from a couple of gross-out set pieces that are delivered with the kind of splatter-stick, blood fountain and gristle practical FX that date back to the classic days of 80s VHS horror the movie is stultifyingly restrained. Indeed, other than Healy who plays the deranged dad at fever pitch almost from the get-go, the cast are strangely subdued and hampered by an overly wordy script that doesn’t do enough to cover the fact that nothing much happens for a very long time. We need to do something? Well exactly. Go on then. What shocks and surprises there are don’t really kick in until long into the third act by which point the giallo-esque histrionics and grand guignol are a welcome relief from the all too relatable ennui of a locked down family.
We Need To Do Something is available now on digital from Blue Finch Film.
Kirk Lake is a writer, musician and filmmaker. His published books include Mickey The Mimic (2015) and The Last Night of the Leamington Licker (2018). His films include the feature films Piercing Brightness (2014) and The World We Knew (2020) and a number of award winning shorts.
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