We Need To Do Something manages to be just as poignant as it is terrifying.
Published on December 15, 2021
Rating 3.5 /5
As far as bottle movies go, We Need To Do Something makes some solid usage of its small settings. Nearly the entire film takes place within a bathroom with a handful of flashbacks on the outside. It centers around a family that struggles to survive as hours turn to days in their trapped ordeal. It’s also a rather poignant film that is sure to draw obvious comparisons to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A storm is happening just outside the house of a family of four. The family includes the teenage girl Melissa, the plucky boy Bobby, the terrified mother Diane, and the short-fused father Robert. Their bathroom turns out to be the safest place in the house as some unseen threat destroys all but the one room. With the window unable to open and the door stuck, there’s no getting out of their tiled tomb.
The mysterious nature of what lies outside comes across as intriguingly surreal. We’re led to believe that it was just a storm that has stranded the family within one room. Glimpses of something outside slowly come about. A dog is thought to be at the door at one point but this friendly creature seems to turn into a demon who speaks English with a devilish tongue. A snake also enters and makes death a matter of sooner rather than later. Some people come by to help but they are killed by some unseen creatures that warrant gunfire.
Some answers to this ordeal are kinda/sorts revealed with Melissa’s past. Prior to the captivity, Melissa engaged in a satanic act with a girl she fancies. The two of them, romantically entangled, seek to cast a spell to get back at a boy. Melissa, however, fears her dealings in dark magic may have brought about the end of times. Whether this is true or not is kept ambiguous, keeping a lingering sensation of doubt in her mind for the dread that follows.
What we do know about Melissa is that she’s suicidal and this urge to end it all still nags at her. She finds herself scratching at her veins, bringing bloody pain as she struggles for some sort of release. There’s obviously a lot of allegory going on within her family that feels trapped and desperate. Robert grows increasingly more violent and frustrated, resorting to guzzling mouthwash for alcoholic comfort. His thoughts turn to eating snakes they find and trying to force his son through the crack in the door, nearly killing him.
This is a film that makes a lot out of a little. The before-time scenes are kept glossy and nostalgic, making Melissa’s days of hiding her passion and depression seem almost cathartic. She also experiences dreams where the surreal and creepiness is amped up, leading to corpses in the bathtub and veins that protrude from slit wrists to strangle her. There’s also a tragic drive to Diane trying to fight back the terrors of the unknown, struggling helplessly to protect her family.
We Need To Do Something manages to be just as poignant as it is terrifying. It taps into that trapped sensation that brings out the worst in us all while also highlighting the horrors we try to ward off every day. It’s as psychologically driven as it is surreally somber in its reflections on how distant a family can be, even when forced together in the same space. While there’s sure to be a lot of Covid styles horror pictures that try to harp on isolationism and despair, few will come closer than this allegory.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.