September 3rd, 2021
MOVIE: WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING
STARRING: SIERRA MCCORMICK, PAT HEALY, VINESSA SHAW, JOHN JAMES CRONIN
DIRECTED BY: SEAN KING O’GRADY
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
There have been a steady stream of movies that might be called “Pandemic films” where the narrative fits the structure of what the raging Covid has allowed an artist to adapt with. From Doug Liman’s Locked Down, the zoom-inspired horror film Host, or the mad genius of Bo Burnham’s Inside, there’s been plenty of cinema to dissect being made during times of lockdown. With We Need to Do Something, a horror movie set during a terrible storm, a family sheltering in their homes, and then trapped in the bathroom, feels unlike any Covid movie, but more like a stage production, with a metaphor of how difficult life can truly be. Director Sean King O’Grady backs his characters into a corner, boxing them inside, with no windows, revealing little of what’s happening around them, and the final result is a family of four that slowly goes mad, pushing each other’s buttons, fighting off literal snakes, while something worse rages on outside. With a trio of excellent performances, We Need to Do Something pushes a narrative to new bounds, with a result of thrilling madness.
The family consists of alcoholic father Robert (Pat Healy), possibly cheating mother Diane (Vinessa Shaw), angsty daughter Melissa (played excellently by Sierra McCormick), and quiet younger brother Bobby (John James Cronin). From the minute this family enters the bathroom there is an air of misery, a dread that is set to build up, with shelter in place alerts blasting from their phones, frustration from the teenager and fear from the little brother. It slowly becomes a spiral into absolute madness and family dysfunction on an entirely different scale.
Revealing much further of the plot certainly ruins the elements of surprise for what’s building within We Need to Do Something. O’Grady directs, with a stage production approach, working directly from the screenplay by Max Booth III, and keeping the space to it’s minimal square. The narrative allows the character work do the heavy lifting. The outside element of the story is teenage daughter Melissa, who’s own personal struggles are revealed through flashbacks, giving the story of her relationship with Amy (Lisette Alexis), which eventually turns into two kids doing a witchy hex on a classmate that won’t stop picking on the two of them. It’s through these flashbacks where it’s revealed that maybe this curse has worked, and maybe it’s not a storm, but something else. A demon? A monster? Or worse? Finding the answer comes forth from O’Grady’s direction and letting the audience’s elaborate, imaginative minds take hold.
What’s incredibly undeniable is the trio of fantastic performances from Healy, Shaw, and McCormick, all three bouncing off one another in familial discourse. This all takes place while the perfectly innocent John James Cronin watches, the unfortunate victim of it all. The best performance is leaps and bounds from Pat Healy, who seems to be channeling the skills he tapped into from his cult classic Cheap Thrills. This time, it involves doing all that he can to open a door, wedged shut by a fallen tree. His descent into madness is met with fear from the kids, an unrelentless anger that he takes out on an immovable door, and when he’s going his wildest, this is when all hell breaks loose.
To say that the last five minutes of We Need to Do Something are something to experience, for better, and for worse. I think what surprises most of all in Sean King O’Grady’s film is his willingness to go there. You won’t find me disliking a movie that takes a risk and treats every character as fair game in the madness and it helps when Vinessa Shaw and Pat Healy have the opportunity to put on display their versatility of performances. We Need to Do Something is off the wall and outrageous. That’s exactly why it’s awesome.
WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS AND AVAILABLE ON DEMAND THIS FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 3RD.
Written by: Leo Brady