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We Need To Do Something Explained-Cotard Delusions, Family Drama, And The Monster Outside The Bathroom

We Need To Do Something works on many levels. As a portrait of a broken family, as a closed room mystery, as a demonic possession film, and as surrealist horror, it works. This is an emotionally charged film driven by great performances and subtle fears just out of view. Director sean King O’Grady and writer Max Booth III managed to produce a claustrophobic and tense locked-perspective of a family and potentially a world on the brink. The film leaves the biggest questions unanswered but leaves no doubt that as bad as things are in the outside world, the evil inside their tiny space may be worse.

The tightly framed intimate piece could not have come at a better time. It is obviously influenced by a post COVID world, and that paranoia helps drive the anxiety that permeates the film. We were all locked inside our homes a year ago. Most of us worry we may have to return to that reality. For a broken family, it would be a nightmare. For Mel, American Horror Stories Sierra McCormick, Diane(Vinessa Shaw), Bobby(John James Cronin), and Robert a combustive and menacing Pat Healy(Cheap Thrills) the forced confinement is not a recipe for reconnection. Rather it is an amplifier of all the things that are wrong with the fractured family.

Single room horror works because nothing is scarier than what we imagine and the internal demons we all live with. We Need To Do Something reminds me of another single space family horror film called I Trapped The Devil where you aren’t ever completely sure if the ending was just another beginning.

In We Need To Do Something, a family hunkers down in their bathroom during a storm warning. Once the storm has passed, the family finds they are stuck in the room with the door blocked and a limited view of a hellscape outside the dubious safety of their bathroom. Parents, Robert and Diane, snipe at each other between bouts of machine-gun spurts of Robert’s aggression. Mel is volatile, cranky, self-absorbed, and teeming with disdain. She basically is Scarlett from American Horror Stories, complete with a murderous girlfriend. She picks at her literal scabs and the metaphorical ones her entire family sports. We learn that Mel and her girlfriend Amy may be responsible for the strange storm and even stranger aftermath through flashbacks. Here’s everything you need to know about the ambiguous ending.

Was there something outside the bathroom?

If we only had Mel’s perspective, it would be clearer everything that happened was a creation of a starving and stressed mind. Unless it is a shared delusion, however, we know several things actually happened. First, there was an unusual storm that knocked a tree down in front of their bathroom door. Second, something is out in the world that appears to be picking people off. Third, whatever is outside the bathroom knows details about the family, like they lost a dog named Spot and used those details to hurt them. When the dog was outside their door, and Bobby and Mel petted him, both children were convinced it was Spot. That same dog then spoke to them, confirming that it wasn’t a dog at all.

Curiously, Bobby talks about rattlesnakes, and shortly after, one slithers into the bathroom. Serpents are often symbols of demons, making it plausible that whatever was outside the walls could shift into different forms. Bobby gets bit by a snake shortly after his father damn near crushed his skull between the doorjamb. If the demon can project your fears, it might also be able to project your darkest impulses. While Robert and Diane were arguing about his behavior, Bobby got bit. Ironically, Diane saves him from Robert, killing him but contributed to him dying by venom. It also makes it likely the monster can project their fears back at them. In that sense, everything Mel feels guilty about may be the creations of the monster.

Did Mel and Amy summon a demon with their spell?

Many of the events that happen in the bathroom mirror things that happened between Amy and Mel. The spell Amy used to curse Joe required the use of Spot’s tongue. Mel digs up her dead dog and rips his tongue out just as she rips out the tongue of the thing pretending to be a dog outside the bathroom. Is she simply feeling guilty for what she did, or did the internet spell work? Amy doesn’t return any of Mel’s calls well before the storm hits, so it is likely the story she tells Amy about letting the demon out is true.

Amy tells Mel she was dead. She says she suffered from Cotard’s Delusion or Walking Corpse Disease. This rare condition is one in which the patient denies their life or existence or believes part of their body is dead and decayed. Doctors do not know what causes it, nor do they have definitive treatments. The current theory is the disorder is a secondary condition to an existing underlying illness. We don’t know anything about her medical history, but she is troubled. We don’t know whether she really had or has Cotard’s Delusion, was possessed by a demon from the beginning, or just mentally ill. The surreal sequence in the finale leads one to believe Amy unleashed something into the world. On the other hand, she may have been troubled from the beginning because the demon was trapped inside, tormenting her.

The ending of We Need To Do Something

At the end of We Need To Do Something, only Mel and Diane are left. Bobby died of a snake bite. Robert went totally bonkers after sucking on alcohol pads for hours and speaking to someone or something on Mel’s phone, which was conveniently found. He attacked Diane with the snake that bit his cheek after biting the snake’s head off. He whipped Diane repeatedly while shouting, “kill the witch.” Mel had been confessing her part of the spell with Amy just before, so this could all be part of a psychotic break, but we do hear something on the other end of the phone. We can’t hear what is said, but coupled with Spot’s human voice, it can be safely assumed something intelligent is driving the torment.

Joe died after Mel and Amy did the spell by choking on his tongue. There is no proof this is real, but Mel is convinced it is. If Joe did die, then it is possible something came for Amy and now wants Mel. Mel’s hallucinations are actual visions of things happening and events to come using this frame of reference. Amy comes for Mel and shoots bloody vines down her throat in Evil Dead fashion. Whatever demon is inside Amy has been unleashed on the world and is wreaking literal havoc. After Diane broke through the wall and investigated the outside world, she returned blood-soaked and shaken. Whatever is out there, it wasn’t caused by a natural disaster. As the film closes, loud noise blasts as the screen turns red. If Amy has succeeded in getting in, Mel is also infected, and the pair is doomed.

Amy tells Mel everything she needed to know when she said, “You can’t fix the inevitable”. Broken families and broken people can’t be fixed. Domestic violence is insidious. We know Diane was afraid of Robert and his behavior from the beginning proved she should be. We won’t know for sure whether the film is a sweat-soaked fever dream of family drama or an actual demon conjured up to protect two vulnerable and mentally unstable girls.

Hysteria and confinement are a recipe for disaster. Throw in some alcohol abuse, infidelity, bullying, and a potential apocalypse, and it isn’t a far leap to assume We Need To Do Something is a Schrodinger’s Box. The family is both alive and dead before the storm even hits. In We Need To Do Something, the Garden of Eden has been breached, and it is already too late. This film is streaming everywhere you watch movies right now.