[Tribeca 2021 Capsule Review] 'We Need to Do Something' is an Intense, Character Driven Pressure Cooker
“We have to do something, don’t we…?”
…Unfortunately for the family in director Sean King O’Grady’s debut feature, We Need to Do Something, which just premiered at Tribeca, doing something is easier said than done.
Written by novelist Max Booth III (based on his novel), We Need to Do Something finds a family trapped in their bathroom together after a storm tears down their house and blocks the door. With tensions brewing and possible sinister forces outside, they begin to realize they’ll have to find a way out and soon or risk certain death, either at the hands of said forces, or each other.
What results is minimalist horror at its finest.
Like every family, this one is full of secrets, resentments and unsettled feuds. There’s Mom/Diane (Vinessa Shaw), who may be cheating on Dad/Robert (Pat Healy), who’s onto Diane and shines as a tightly wound, rage-aholic. There’s your rebellious daughter Mel (Sierra McCormick), who won’t disclose why she came home late, and then there’s little boy Bobby (John James Cronin) who might be the only well-adjusted member of the entire bunch. Each and every one of them plays their roles exceptionally, and more importantly, they feel like a family. We get their frustration, and we can sense their love for one another beneath it.
Which makes the events that follow all that more gut-wrenching.
We Need to Do Something is an intense pressure cooker of a movie that consistently turns up the heat and deserves a huge round of applause for O’Grady and Booth III. It utilizes the concept of “what we don’t see is scariest of all” to nerve-shattering effect, with one moment that left me shrieking and damn near projected me to another plane of terror. This film is shocking. It’s spine-tingling. And it will shake you to your core.
Explanations as to what's happening are perhaps left a little too vague and offer more questions than answers, but We Need to Do Something is a well-executed nightmare scenario depicting the threat of secrets within a family and how those bonds are more fragile than the concrete walls trapping us in. The thing you need to do is watch it.
Look for my full review closer to the film's release in theaters and on VOD September 3rd, 2021 from IFC Midnight.
By Matt Konopka
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