★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Sean King O’Grady and written by Max Booth III
There’s nothing more devastating and frightening than a family at their wit’s end who are also simultaneously at each other’s throats. One part drama, one part horror, one part nuclear family armageddon. You don’t want to watch the collapse, but you absolutely can’t peel your peepers from the impending chaos.
Making matters worse is the fact that 2021’s We Need to Do Something, is entirely set in a bathroom. Sure it’s a nice bathroom, but it’s a bathroom nonetheless. Mom, Dad, Brother, and Sister are all enclosed in a bathroom with nowhere to hide, and certainly nowhere to hide their very hot and raw dislike for one another.
Within minutes of the film’s opening the audience is exposed to the fact that a) Mom has cheated on Dad, b) Dad is a rage-filled alcoholic lunatic, c) the teen Daughter is gothic juvenille delinquent, and d) the Son is a meek soul caught in the middle of this emotional tornado. All the while the family lies to itself under the false pastiche of normalcy.
This explosive scene is made all the worse by the fact that the family is in the middle of an actual “tornado” and while seeking refuge in their secure bathroom, a tree falls on the house and effectively traps them in a dysfunctional death cage.
The Dad, incredibly played by Pat Healy (Pale Door and the Inkeepers), is an unhinged man-baby with very little, and possibly no, chill. He screams at the children, he berates his wife, and he guzzles Listerine. The Mom, also exceptionally played by Vinessa Shaw (The Hills Have Eyes) does what she can to keep some semblance of the family structure in place while dealing the looming specter of her philandering ways and the dissolution of the family unit.
This one act horror stage play is inescapably claustrophobic. There’s no privacy or food, but the family has stockpiled an ample supply of hate and discontent. As the family begins to settle in to their newfound reality it begins to become clear that outside their containment is anything but reality. The family’s goth Daughter, it turns out, has been toying with the dark arts and she and her Hot Topic pal may have used pieces and parts of the deceased family dog to create a portal to a less than benevolent universe.
All within the cramped confines of the bathroom the paranoia and loathing continues to simmer. Dad chomps on astringent pads for their alcohol content and Mom does her darnedest to soothe the family’s frayed nerves. Funny enough, amidst all the turmoil the film’s title continues like a bad refrain: “We need to do something!” reprised with “What the #$*#& should we do?!?!”
If horror teaches us anything it’s that the most stressful situations reveal our true identities. We Need to Do Something is the pure embodiment of this sentiment. If your family is an emotional train wreck around the dinner table then they’ll probably carry those same feelings forward at the onset of a demonic apocalypse.
We Need to Do Something is likely Rated R and currently streaming on Hulu.