We Need to Do Something, 2021.
Directed by Sean King O’Grady.
Starring Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, Pat Healy, John James Cronin, Lisette Alexis, and Ozzy Osbourne.
After Melissa and her family seek shelter from a storm, they become trapped. With no sign of rescue, hours turn to days and Melissa comes to realize that she and her girlfriend Amy might have something to do with the horrors that threaten to tear her family – and the entire world, apart.
A complement of the highest order, there’s only one question to ask once We Need to Do Something concludes; is director Sean King O’Grady okay in the head? I don’t have the answer, but I can tell you that if you enjoy witchcraft, body horror, excessive amounts of blood, charged family drama, demonic tongues, chamber thrills, or some combination of the above, there’s no reason to skip out on an experience this demented and warped. The fact that it’s Sean King O’Grady’s debut narrative feature (adopting both a novella and script from Max Booth III) makes this all the more impressive, as while the specifics of the story are still uneven and flawed, the zeal and confidence to put something this bonkers out into the world deserve to be commended. It’s a movie where Ozzy Osbourne has a voice cameo, nowhere near the strangest ingredient.
We Need to Do Something is very much a film built on surprises and swerves, so details on the plot will be left vague. However, what can be said is that the narrative centers on a dysfunctional family taking shelter in their bathroom for the night throughout a dangerously raging thunderstorm. Booming almost as large as every crack of lightning is the increasingly irritable voice of Robert (Pat Healy, only a “dumbass” quip away from resembling Kurtwood Smith, albeit with more toxicity and hostility), demanding to know who his wife Diane (Vinessa Shaw) is texting. He suspects infidelity, but given his temperamental behavior, it’s hard to blame her for doing so if that’s what’s going on.
Their children are teenage daughter Melissa (Sierra McCormick) and young Bobby (John James Cronin), who bicker as siblings often do, especially under harsh circumstances. Melissa is spamming her girlfriend Amy (Lisette Alexis) with messages hoping she is safe from the storm, whereas Bobby excitedly wonders if there will be an F5 tornado. The situation goes from bad to worse with a power outage, but as the rest of the family unites and starts to support one another, Robert only becomes more volatile. With no way out (which may be challenging to overlook and contrived for some), he switches between modes of emotional terrorism and a mildly caring father with little warning. Nonetheless, it’s clear to everyone that he is the one they should truly fear.
Breaking up those arguments are flashbacks to Melissa and Amy (the former believes that the thunderstorm, which seems to be morphing into some apocalypse) as they first get to know one another, fall in love, and eventually start experimenting with necromancy spells to get revenge on a local creepy boy spreading rumors about them. Admittedly, this relationship portion of the film feels underwritten and meant to explain away and push other aspects of the plot along, but it’s not without unsettling moments.
As if the multiple intersecting story elements weren’t enough to keep viewers off-balance, We Need to Do Something also oscillates between black humor and uncomfortable terror. Pat Healy is dialed up to 11 and going for broke. At the same time, the rest of the cast ground everything emotionally in devastating contrast to a father whose actions become straight-up disturbing. There is also a nightmare sequence that, putting it bluntly, fucked me up with its sense of place in the narrative and grotesque imagery. Toss in several other unpredictable elements, and you have a movie that’s the equivalent of funhouse horror with genuinely tragic moments. Yes, aspects such as the editing, pacing, and writing could be fine-tuned, but it’s nearly impossible to come away from We Need to Do Something without a rush of frightful adrenaline from a new voice that should already be thrown money to make whatever he wants.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at MetalGearSolid719@gmail.com