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We is Superb Arthouse Sleaze from The Netherlands

A scene from the 2018 film "We."

We is not the kind of movie you’ll want to watch if you’re looking for an inspirational, uplifting cinematic experience. Indeed, this is the kind of film where a subplot about a character intentionally having abortions so she can line up the fetuses in jars like Babushka dolls is actually one of the least disturbing elements of the picture. 

No, We is the kind of movie where bored, affluenza-addled teenagers take turns beating the living daylights out of gangly college students for the LULZ. It’s a movie where wayward high schoolers steal dogs, tie them to train tracks and record them getting pureed by locomotives because they think it constitutes “realistic art.” This is a movie where the protagonists have nary a qualm about engaging in back alley sexual assaults against projectile vomiting victims and take pride in giving each other involuntary golden showers. 

Oh, and by the way — all of the freaky sexual shenanigans going on in this movie are un-simulated, to boot. 

Not that you really need me to tell you this, but such beyond-NC-17 sleaze and sadism could have come from one place and one place only — The Netherlands. Initially released in 2018 under the title Wij, wunderkind director Rene Eller’s hyper-transgressive opus is one of the finest (and most ferocious) “youth-gone-wild” movies to come down the pipes in years. Which, naturally, made it a no-brainer acquisition for Philadelphia-based Artsploitation, a distribution company that apparently gets its jollies scouring Europe for the raunchiest and most risque genre movies legally allowed to be imported into the United States. 

Also See: Larry Fessenden’s Depraved is His Best Directorial Effort Yet [Review]

A scene from the 2018 film "We."

No, the kids in this movie most definitely aren’t alright, folks.

The filmmakers tout We as being “based on a true story,” and if such is indeed the case, Holland’s got more problems than any of us can dare fathom. The film starts off innocently enough, with our four guys and four gals group ensemble peddling around the burbs of Amsterdam. There’s all your usual teenage hijinks — lots of canoodling and consumption of alcoholic beverages in abandoned trailers, as the young at heart are often prone to do — and then, things start getting heavy

They start rubbing mud on each other and have these hippie rituals next to a bonfire. Then they start flashing motorists on overpasses, as a result causing 12-car pile-ups with multiple fatalities. Then they take turns having recreational group sodomy, start making XVideos while wearing bunny masks and prostitute themselves in corn fields to hairy utility workers named Bjorn. 

Heck, there’s even a scene where this one girl takes an iPod Nano and … yeah, the fine editors here at Wicked Horror won’t even let me think about telling you what happens next. And just when you think things can’t get any grosser or grimmier, you know what happens? 

That’s right — the kids eat a basket of French fries topped with mayonnaise. YUCK-O.

Unsurprisingly, the good times come to an end pretty quickly in We. I can’t tell you too much about the story, but rest assured it involves all of the following: blackmailing Yamaha dealers to get group discounts on motorbikes, BFFs punching each other in the stomach as impromptu birth control and what may very well be the first recorded icicle marital aid-related death in film history. 

A scene from the 2018 film "We."

Amazingly, “homicide by arson” is one of the lesser felonies committed by the cast of We.

So yeah, as evident by dialogue like “nothing feels better than my Eiffel Tower in your EuroTunnel,” the kids in this movie are definitely not alright. 

Of course, considering the subject fare, I’m guessing most readers have already been alienated enough by the premise. But for a movie like We, the desired effect was never attracting a wide-scale, mainstream audience — rather, this is a seriously twisted melodrama targeting the most calloused of cinephiles. Somewhere betwixt the work of Harmony Korine and Lars von Trier is where you’ll find Eller’s uber-shocking directorial debut to lie on the genre compass, and if you fancied either Gummo or Antichrist, you definitely need to go out of your way to see this one. Y’know, pending the whole mayonnaise-on-French-fries stuff isn’t enough to push you over the edge … 

Wicked Rating: 8/10

Director: Rene Eller
Writer: Rene Eller (based on a novel by Elvis Peeters)
Stars: Aime Claeys, Pauline Casteleyen, Maxime Jacobs, Gaia Sofia Cozjin
Release: April 21
Studio/Production Co: Artsploitation
Language: Dutch
Length: 100 minutes

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Written by James Swift
James Swift is an Atlanta-area writer, reporter, documentary filmmaker, author and on-and-off marketing and P.R. point-man whose award winning work on subjects such as classism, mental health services, juvenile justice and gentrification has been featured in dozens of publications, including The Center for Public Integrity, Youth Today, The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, The Alpharetta Neighbor and Thought Catalog. His 2013 series “Rural America: After the Recession” drew national praise from the Community Action Partnershipand The University of Maryland’s Journalism Center on Children & Familiesand garnered him the Atlanta Press Club’s Rising Star Award for best work produced by a journalist under the age of 30. He has written for Taste of Cinema, Bloody Disgusting, and many other film sites. (Fun fact: Wikipedia lists him as an expert on both “prison rape” and “discontinued Taco Bell products,” for some reason.)
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