Did I seriously just get Rick Rolled by a movie? We Need to Do Something, a bizarre but timely horror/thriller with an injection of dark comedy, hails from writer Max Booth III (based on his own 2020 novella, which I scooped up after finishing this crazy movie) and first-time director Sean King O’Grady. Going from strictly the first still released, one that utilizes the dark lighting of an 80s V.C. Andrews book cover, this was in my most anticipated films heading into the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival. I am happy to report it did not disappoint, but We Need to Do Something is significantly more bizarre and wildly outrageous than my wildest dreams. IFC Midnight picked up the film for distribution ahead of its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Teenage Melissa (Sierra McCormick) and her family are on the brink of collapse well before they become trapped in their own bathroom. Sparked by a tornado warning, Melissa, her naive brother Bobby (John James Cronin), her short-tempered father Robert (Pat Healy), and her good-natured mother Diane (Vinessa Shaw) end up losing power and are completely closed off from the rest of the world. Melissa can’t even seem to reach her girlfriend, Amy (Lisette Alexis), the one person who makes her feel like less of an outsider.
They are all forced to pee in the same room with no privacy, and from there, it only gets weirder as the minutes turn to hours. Eventually, they need to start conserving water. They become so desperate eventually that Bobby has to remind his father: “dicks are for peeing, not eating, dad.” Why won’t the doors open? Why is all communication with the outside cut off completely? Will we ever get answers?
Any movie confined to one setting is already bound to be doing some heavy lifting when it comes to striking visuals and filmmaking technique. Thankfully, We Need to Do Something excels in both areas. Rotting corpses, gushing blood, rattlesnakes, and squirming tongues are all served up (one quite literally) for prime genre audience consumption. One of the most effective scenes involves a “dog” licking a hand. All four of the key players to the story are vital in terms of narrative, and even a fifth becomes crucial, as flashbacks help to unfurl the twisty storyline.
Bonkers gory imagery in the final act left me completely gobsmacked. Strange quotes like “most people are dead, they just don’t realize it” left me guessing and theorizing until the very last frame. Speaking of that ending, I have no other word to use but ‘wow.’ I truly admire debut director Sean King O’Grady, as he delivers one final blow to the audience that closes the movie out on a high note. It might serve as my favorite ending of the entire 2021 Tribeca lineup. I know one thing for sure: it left me anxious to revisit this black comedy horror treat.
We Need to Do Something screened at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, June 15th. It heads to theaters and VOD by IFC Films on Friday, September 3rd.