A family trapped in the master bathroom of their suburban home wait for the horrors beyond the door in We Need to Do Something.
Mel (Sierra McCormick) is a teen with a little brother Bobby (John James Cronin), mom Diane (Vinessa Shaw) and dad Robert (Pat Healy). When a nasty storm hits, the family head to the master bath to wait it out, with only a pack of cards, their cell phones and a blanket. Expecting things to blow over, Diane and Bobby speculate the storm’s intensity and play cards while Robert seethes quietly. Mel seems to think the storm is made of something more sinister but is poo-pooed by her parents because a teenaged girl with pink hair couldn’t possibly cause a catastrophic event…right?
As the storm bears on, the tension between the family grows. The power goes out, a tree crashes into the home, leaving the foursome stuck in the pink-tiled, slightly dated suburban oasis. With no food, and silly mistakes leaving them without cell phones, the family becomes more scared, irritable and downright abusive as things that go bump in the night show up in their ravaged home.
Based on a novella by Max Booth III and directed by Sean King O’Grady, We Need to Do Something simmers in endless tension, but there isn’t a payoff to match it. With an already toxic environment in the home, Mel, Diane, Bobby and Robert all have to face each other during a crisis confined to a small area. The concept is familiar and reminiscent of The Mist on a much smaller scale, but the end of their ordeal seemed abrupt and less than cathartic. These days, I can understand this type of ending since we don’t really have an end in sight with the current pandemic, but it would have been nice to get lost in a definitive finale on screen. We do, however, get a supernatural threat that is treated cleverly with minimal special effects and a natural predator that proves to be more terrifying.
The performances were great, with Healy chewing up the screen as the angry alcoholic father and McCormick as the angsty teen who harbours a secret revealed in slightly exposition-y flashbacks with her witchy girlfriend Amy, played by Lisette Alexis. The cast really worked with the small space and fed off of each other like a true family on the brink; in fact, after the last year and a half, it might hit too close to home since more people than we can imagine have had to deal with toxic and dangerous environments in the home. Unfortunately, this is a horror film that couldn’t blend the tones of genre and family drama well. I was left wanting more despite the great tension of the film. I will, however, seek out the novella.
Check out this ensemble horror affair on demand and in theatres September 3.