‘We Need to Do Something’ is mostly contained in a single room, but if it fails to keep the realism at the forefront.
A family of four find themselves battling out a storm in their home’s brick-walled bathroom. A tornado has swept through their midwestern town, leaving the family without power or a chance to escape. When a tree blocks the family from leaving, things get even worse. Dad’s alcoholism bears its ugly face, the lesbian goth daughter hates her family and misses her girlfriend, and mom and son are both just trying to keep sane.
Eventually, a monster dog voiced by Ozzy Osbourne shows up?
This is what turns the new film We Need to Do Something from a smart and realistic thriller into a much dumber film. First-time writer Max Booth III and director Sean King O’Grady’s feature debut has an excellent premise on paper, but it begins to lose efficacy by the fifteen-minute mark and the flashback to a scene outside of the bathroom. The more realistic the film, the better and darker it is. When it leans into answering questions no one ever asked about the storm and reality… well, it becomes much less fun.
Addressing the film’s deepest problems would involve spoiling some of the movie’s twists. I won’t do that for a film that has only just had its world premiere at Tribeca, but that doesn’t up for the issues. Casting such acclaimed character actors as Pat Healy and Vinessa Shaw as the parents mean the performances are well executed. The daughter, played by Disney Channel success story Sierra McCormack, is also a great performance at times, hindered by worse characterization. But, to quote my favorite Maya Rudolph line, “To What End?” Why cast such good actors and build such a fun premise if you’re going to add unnecessary elements to it like the supernatural.
I would love to recommend the film on the basis of performance or production design. But wow this movie starts with a bang and begins to whimper by the fifteenth minute. I audibly groaned the first time the film started to provide a backstory, and two fantasy sequences later in the film also complicate the realism. The best enemy of the film is nature. The elements keep the family from the outside world, and the most frequent intruder is a snake that actually provides thrills. When witchcraft and mythology arrive, it falters.
We Need to Do Something is a well-designed and intelligently claustrophobic thriller for about half its runtime (not a continuous half, mind you). Otherwise, it seems to be much less of a thriller and more of a failed exploitation film. Even the queer elements are poorly executed with the elements of “Kill Your Gays” and also some really dumb use of gothic horror.
I apologize in advance for this terrible joke, but:
We Need to Do Something doesn’t do enough.