In a small town in Denmark called Sorgenfri, things seem peaceful. Families are having barbecues, kids are playing and young love is in the air. Things are good. However, slowly, the mood of the town changes. People start to get sick, an old man goes missing. Soon, Sorgenfri finds itself in a state of emergency and the soldiers flood in. The question is; can the military keep things in order as the mysterious illness spreads? One family is about to find out.
Little story before I start. I watched about 15 minutes of a fairly poor version of this movie. The subtitles were translated from Danish verbatim and the sentence structuring is not quite English-compatible. [I would re-watch for a couple to complete the story or not mention examples]. Needless to say, it made for a very awkward viewing experience. Point of the story is that I decided to buy a copy. I wanted to get get a nice HD copy for viewing with proper subtitles and it was like pulling teeth. I even went so far as to spend some time on tech support with with someone who couldn't help me whatsoever. Jesus Christ on a cracker! After failing to purchase it through every single means available for instant streaming, I gave up. I was forced to continue on my Danish adventure. In the end, though, having to put up with bad subtitles was completely worth it.
The story centers around one family, consisting of patriarch Dino, mother Pernille, son Gustav, daughter Maj and her pet Ninus. A strange illness has overtaken their town and the military is quarantining individual houses in an effort to contain the spreading infection. This mysterious illness, you may have guessed, leads to zombification! Of course it does. When does it not?
The 2004 version of Dawn of the Dead is easily one of my favourite zombie films. The first 15 minutes of it is probably my favourite opening of any movie, ever. It perfectly sets up the start of a zombie apocalypse. It ramps up slowly, ending in a nightmare drive through the suburbs and a panoramic shot of the chaos of the surrounding city. The rest of Dawn of the Dead is good but man, that start is just excellent. What We Become doesn't start as memorably, but it does a really great job of capturing that uneasy feeling of something terrible just below the surface…
There are few comedic moments that are not too goofy for a horror flick. Unlike in Green Inferno, where the jokes rob the film of its atmosphere, they never took away from What We Become's feel of looming dread.. One scene in particular stands out for me. When Maj is first seen playing happily with Ninus, (who is a little bunny) at the start, I naturally assumed foreshadowing and pictured the inevitable zombie feast. Well, I was sort of right... The military is regulating food rations due to the epidemic, and thanks to disaffected Gustav's prior stupidity the supply has been cut off . There is a cut to the family eating a nice hearty stew just as Maj comes into the room saying that she can't find Ninus. Everyone around the table has this great look of shame on their faces as they explain that rabbits 'sometimes just run away' and that they 'have a way of getting out.' It's funny without being cheery.
One strange moment has the mother walk in on Gustav fooling around with the neighbour's daughter. This is right after a scene where this same girl's mother died. I guess she got over it pretty quickly. It was over so fast that afterwards that I wasn't sure whether or not it was just that my copy of the movie was messed up.
What We Become is a great zombie movie. Very easily one of the best ones I have seen in 2016 (though it was released in 2015). I can't recall being so engaged since 28 Weeks Later. They just don't have the same urgency they used to have. The Walking Dead isn't a bad show, but I never get that churning terror in my gut for anything on screen. In The Walking Dead, the zombies seem like more of an inconvenience than an actual threat. It was great to have that feeling again from a genre that has become so over-saturated.
Is this worth watching? I think so, if you can find it... Good luck with that. Unless of course you speak Danish... Is this a perfect movie? Not really, it felt a little slow and padded in the middle but I think the product as a whole was fantastic. Also, it has one of the best third acts I have seen in a long, long time. I was glued to my seat as the last 30 minutes played out.
Check it out if you can.