We Need to Do Something (2021) Explained

An Average Movie-Goer’s Review

Spoilers! If you don’t want spoilers – check out the Spoiler-Free post

We Need to Do Something (2021) Explained poster

I love horror movies and if I’m going to watch them anyway, why not write an entertaining/funny review from the POV of an average movie-goer and not a professional critic.

Today we’re looking at 2021’s We Need to Do Something

A film written by Max Booth III and adapted from his novella with the same name.

A family is trapped in their bathroom after a tornado hits their home but the origin of the tornado is not as natural as it appears.

Is it Scary?

We Need to Do Something has some pretty good jump scares and some shocking moments. But, while you might be scared during some scenes due to the tension and suspense, it won’t leave you terrified and you’ll sleep like a baby afterwards… unless you live near rattlesnakes.

Detailed Plot:

The movie starts with the shot of a storm rolling into a small town while tornado alarms blare. We then see our four main characters enter their bathroom to hunker down for the storm. 

We meet: 

Teenage Melissa (played by Sierra McCormick) who is concerned about the weird storm and is constantly texting someone who has stopped responding. She also has a cut on her wrist that she claims was a scratch from “Amy’s cat” despite the cut being a single slash instead of multiple claws. 

Sierra McCormick as Melissa in 2021's We Need to Do Something
“Yes her cat lost her other claws in a terrible accident.”

Father of the family, Robert (played by Pat Healy) who is clearly strung out and on edge. There are hints that his wife has cheated on him or at least ended their relationship.

Pat Healy as Robert in 2021's We Need to Do Something
“I’m not strung out, my eyes are naturally wide!”

Mother of the family, Diane (played by Vinessa Shaw) is trying to calm everyone down about the storm and ignores cell phone calls that may be from another man. And, finally the youngest of the family Bobby (played by John James Cronin) who appears to know too much about storms and is not helping the situation.

Vinessa Shaw as Diane and John James Cronin in 2021's We Need to Do Something
Will there also be three witches and a black cat in this movie too?

Lightning appears to strike the house causing the power to go and the family to freak out. Robert tries to step outside of the bathroom to access the situation but a tree has crashed through the house and trapped the family inside. Using Melissa’s phone he sticks his arm out but drops the phone due to the heavy rain and wind.

The family decide to wait out the storm and we get a title screen. 

We cut to a flashback of Melissa at her school bleachers trading some obvious glances with the only other person there, Amy (played by Lisette Alexis). Melissa leaves but Amy chases after her and introduces herself because again, the glances towards each other we fucking obvious.

We learn Amy used to cut herself and when asked why, she simply says because she used to be dead. Honestly not even the worst pickup line I’ve ever heard.

Lisette Alexis as Amy in 2021's We Need to Do Something
Amy clearly has no chill

Back in the present, it’s now the day after the storm and the family realizes they are definitely stuck in the bathroom. Attempting to call for help reveals everyone’s phone is out of commission, Melissa’s was dropped outside, Diane’s is dead, and Robert’s won’t work for some unknown reason.

A little while later Bobby stares outside the small opening the door can provide and calls out a rattlesnake in the distance. Although Robert doesn’t see anything I’m sure we’ll be probably introduced later on. You don’t introduce a deadly animal in a script and then never use it again.

“Oh a deadly snake while we’re trapped somewhere with no way out? That won’t ever be important.”

During an argument between Melissa and her dad about dropping the phone she asks why they can’t just break through the door or the wall to escape. Robert tells her (and us) that the door is solid oak, the windows are tempered glass blocks, one of the walls is pure rock, and the others are tiled 6 feet thick walls.

Essentially they’re in a prison.

Diane attempts to calm everyone down and Melissa weirdly asks “what if it wasn’t just a storm?” which hints that she knows more than she’s letting on. Will she elaborate? Of course not.

Later we get hints that Robert is an alcoholic and get some conclusive evidence that he has a rage problem. Before he gives Diane his thermos to use for sharing water, he chugs the contents which appears to be alcohol. When Diane gives some water to Bobby and he complains, Robert snaps yelling at him to just drink the water.

She barely washed it out, that water is about 5% liquor

Diane and Robert argue about his outburst which he claims was just him joking around but she tells him to shove it. The power then turns back on so there’s some sort of relief.

Later that night while the rest of the family bonds, Robert is seen pacing back and forth trying to get his phone to work. He flips out, throws the phone at the door, curses at the top of his lungs, and attacks the door.

Robert is not handling this well
I’m starting to think Robert is not handling this well

The following morning Robert shares his belief that all their neighbors are dead or evacuated as someone would have seen the tree and helped them by now. So, he’s not the best at keeping the family morale up.

We see another flashback of Melissa with Amy where it’s clear they’re in a relationship and Amy elaborates on her “used to be dead” statement. She tells Melissa about Cotard’s delusion or Walking Corpse Syndrome wherein the sufferer believes they’re dead. You can read more about that in our Facts-Chology article on Walking Corpse Syndrome here.

Amy says the reason she cut herself was to see the blood and remind herself that since she bleeds she must still be alive. She could have also checked her pulse but that would be too easy.

Back in the present, after the group take separate showers, Melissa picks at the “cat scratch” on her wrist and Diane offers to put something on it as it appears infected. While doing so, they get a visit from the neighborhood rattlesnake.

the rattlesnake in We Need to Do Something 2021
“Jussssst Checking in”

The family run to separate corners of the bathroom and Robert is able to use a plunger to push the snake back out of the door. After that life-threatening situation he apparently needs some alcohol as he picks up a bottle of Listerine and chugs some of it.

He then shouts an enthusiastic “YEA” but also questions whether they should have killed and eaten the snake as none of them have eaten.

Robert (Pat Healy) drinking Listerine
Listerine with a side of snake?

Later that night Bobby asks Diane to re-tell him the story of his birth which apparently happened at a Wal-Mart while she was looking to buy a frozen pizza. When Bobby questions where dad was, Melissa cuts in and says he was drunk at a bowling alley. Robert sucks.

The family try to sleep but are shocked to hear the sounds of what appears to be a dog at the door. The group can’t see what’s out there but Bobby sticks his hand out of the opening in the door and we hear a dog licking his hand. 

No one stops him from doing this, you realize how weird that is right? He stuck his hand out in the dark and let something lick him and no one said “hey let’s rethink this situation first.”

Melissa does the same (WTF) and also thinks it must be a dog. Bobby believes the dog to be Spot, their dog who is buried in the backyard but who he believes actually just ran away. Bobby playfully asks “whose a good boy.” and a demonic voice responds, “I’m a good boy.”

Everyone freaks the fuck out. Whatever is on the other end of the door latches onto Melissa’s arm and tries to pull her through.

Don't stick your arm into pure darkness is the lesson here

With Robert’s help, Melissa pulls back and is able to free herself by ripping off the creatures tongue. The family hear the creature jump around the walls outside and roar. We get a sense that this thing must be huge as it is large enough to cause pieces of the ceiling to fall and the 6ft thick walls to shake.

After washing her hands of the creature’s blood and washing the tongue, which is still slightly moving, Melissa has the idea to eat it. In a what the fuck moment, the entire family agrees to eat the STILL MOVING tongue. 

Diane rips it into pieces for the family to enjoy.

The family prep demonic tongue for dinner

Unsurprisingly the family eat pieces and most of them throw up or gag since it probably tastes like demon.

We see another flashback of Melissa and Amy kissing until they notice a creepy guy named Joe recording them from a distance. After yelling at him, he runs away and we learn he’s been stalking Amy for some time.

In the present it’s now morning and while the rest of the family is sleeping Melissa sees sort of a hallucination of Amy in front of her. The two hold hands and it’s clear they did something to Joe as revenge. For some reason Melissa thinks this had led to her current situation.

We see a different flashback of Melissa and Amy digging up Spot and taking his tongue. By the way the tongue looks very similar to the tongue Melissa ripped out of the creature.

Melissa and Amy out on a date
Just your average grave-robbing date

Later the two are at Amy’s house and use the tongue to prepare some kind of spell so I’m pretty sure Amy is totally into witchcraft. Amy claims the spell will serve as a warning against Joe but I have a feeling something will go wrong because movie.

Back in the present Robert is starting to lose it and tries to force Bobby through the small opening in the door despite his cries of pain.

I feel like Bobby isn’t even trying

Diane eventually jumps up and pushes Robert away and the two argue about his actions. While arguing they don’t notice the rattlesnake has found it’s way back in. Bobby crawls away from the door and directly into the path of the snake which bites him.

All chances of happy ending are over.
Oh this is not going to have a happy ending, is it?

Melissa drags the crying Bobby into the tub and Robert and Diane finally realize what’s happening. Diane grabs the trash bin and traps the snake under it. She takes charge and orders the stunned Robert to give her the toilet seat cover to place atop the bin.

She then uses Robert’s tie to create a tourniquet around Bobby’s wound in order to stop the flow of the venom. Robert tries to suck out the venom which doesn’t appear to really work. By the way, both of these actions are not recommended as treatment.

Robert once again loses it pacing around the upturned trash bin cursing at the snake and then attacks the door once again yelling “I’ll kill all of you.” Who? He doesn’t elaborate so I can only guess he means all of the snakes in the world.

After he calms down the family hear someone outside calling out to them. Robert yells out their situation and the man agrees to head over to them.

We’re only halfway through so I don’t think this’ll end well

As we hear the man get closer we also hear loud thuds and a demonic roar. The man outside screams in terror and we hear several gun shots before everything goes quiet.

Robert looks out the door and very calmly states he doesn’t see anything but that they should close the door for a while. When Melissa asks what they’re going to do about Bobby something hits the door and Robert instructs the family to not speak and stay quiet.

That night the family contemplates what to do next and Robert breaks down about not knowing what to do next. We then cut to another flashback of Melissa and Amy revealing their spell ended up killing Joe.

Amy tells Melissa she thinks it’s her fault as she performed a necromancy spell on herself some time ago in hopes of bringing herself back to life. Like everyone watching the movie, Melissa questions what that has to do with what happened to Joe. Amy reveals that the necromancy spell might have awoken something demonic in her.

“Demonic? Ohh, yea it’s totally you’re fault then.”

Back in the present, the following day, Robert questions Diane’s phone calls and we get some pretty good confirmation she was planning on leaving Robert. We also learn the day of the storm was the day Diane told Robert the marriage was over and was genuinely afraid of his reaction.

The two argue but stop when Diane says he’s scaring the kids again. Bobby starts to complain about his wound which is clearly infected and killing him. Robert starts to ram the door while Bobby asks his mom to tell him the story of his birth again.

As she tells him the story, Bobby dies in her arms.

No jokes

We cut to another flashback wherein naked Amy and Melissa sit in a salt circle and prepare a ritual. They both cut each others wrists with a knife explaining Melissa’s “cat scratch” and Amy begins reciting the spell in a different language, Latin?

This flashback leads directly to the start of the movie except this time it isn’t the four entering the bathroom but instead just Melissa, Diane, and Robert. The scene plays out exactly like the beginning making me think we’re in some kind of time loop until Melissa asks where Bobby is.

Diane simply states “where he’s always been” and points to the tub. 

Ah, so NOT a time loop then. Also, what the fuck

The lights then turn red and Melissa vomits blood, complaining of a pain in her stomach. Robert calls her a witch and says they’re all going to die because of her as she’s cursed them all. Melissa begs for help, rips her stomach open, and pulls out the creatures tongue releasing a fountain of blood. 

Instead of any sane reaction to this, Robert and Diane drop to their knees and beginning drinking the blood.

Have I mentioned: what the fuck?

We cut to Melissa throwing up in the bathroom showing us the previous scene was some kind of hallucination. After Bobby’s death Melissa drank a full bottle of sleep aid and passed out resulting in some really weird hallucinations.

Diane embraces Melissa and the two cry. We next see Robert suffering from alcohol withdrawal looking for anything to quench his addiction. He eventually finds several alcohol pads and stuffs a few in his mouth.

Someone is not handling this well

Through tears Melissa tells the family exactly why she thinks the events are entirely her fault. We learn the spell involving Spot’s tongue ended with Joe choking on his own tongue and dying. The girls believed something demonic inside Amy was the cause so they decided to use another spell online to kill it. Hint: that was the wrong move.

Robert flips out but Diane comes to Melissa’s defense threatening to kill Robert if he ever yells at Melissa again. 

The following morning Roberts eyes are now bleeding possibly (definitely) from sucking on alcohol pads and he suggests they eat Bobby. He is also now virtually blind and breaks a mirror to find something sharp to cut Bobby with. Diane threatens him to not touch Bobby but this doesn’t seem to deter Robert as he tells her to stop acting hysterical while looking like this:

The picture of sanity

The group stop arguing when the sounds of ringtone going off just outside the door catches their attention. Robert reaches his hand out of the door and finds a phone. Answering it, he appears to go into a trance. When he hangs up he states he has to kill Melissa to end their suffering.

Robert lunges at Melissa choking her while repeating “kill the witch” over and over. Diane pulls him off and throws him on the ground, punching him several times as he laughs. The struggle accidentally releases the rattlesnake which immediately bites Robert in the face. 

Robert, being the most sane person, removes it and bites it’s freaking head off!

I don’t think that’s how you’re supposed to eat that

Using the snake, he starts to whip Diane until Melissa stabs him in the back with a shard of glass from the mirror. She continues to stab him over and over, just in case the first dozen stabs didn’t do the job.

He’s not moving or breathing so maybe another dozen stabs will do it

Melissa, seemingly suffering from a mental breakdown, curls up on her mother’s lap and questions if they’ve always been there as there is nothing outside of the door. 

Over the course of what appears to be several days, Diane uses a shard of glass to remove the mortar between the bricks near the front door. She’s eventually able to break through and remove bricks creating a big enough hole for her to wander through.

She tells a sleeping Melissa that she’ll be right back and escapes.


The following morning Melissa wakes up and searches the bathroom for her mom but is interrupted by another hallucination of Amy. Amy raises her arms, reiterates that she used to cut herself, and we see tendrils come out of the scars of her cuts. The tendrils bind to Melissa and a final tendril escapes from Amy’s mouth and goes down Melissa’s throat.

The hallucination ends just as bloody and clearly shocked Diane enters the bathroom through the hole.

Nothing weird here

Melissa asks multiple times what’s outside but Diane doesn’t answer glancing worriedly at the hole. She then continuously repeats “everything is going to be okay” which tells us everything is NOT okay.

There’s a sudden loud bang at the door and we hear a roar as Diane screams and the movie ends.

What Happened in the End?

We don’t find out if Diane and Melissa were killed by something but it’s pretty clear if there was a monster or demon outside, it killed them.

But, I say “if” since there are a few theories about what’s going on. The first and most boring one is the family is already dead. It’s possible the tornado actually killed the family and they’re now in purgatory or hell due to Amy and Melissa’s spell. It doesn’t explain why there was a person with a gun outside at one point who is attacked and killed by the monster/demon but then again I’ve never been to Hell.

Another theory is the spell did actually release a demon/demonic monsters causing the apocalypse, which doesn’t really make sense as, you would think, there would be more noise from the outside if there was an apocalypse.

I personally think their spell did release a demon that possessed Amy which is why Amy stops responding to Melissa’s text messages in the beginning of the movie. The Amy-Demon causes the storm, targets only Melissa, and kills anyone who gets in it’s way. Besides the person who shoots at it outside, the Amy-Demon doesn’t kill anyone else or even appears to want to kill any of the family.

When Amy and Bobby both had their hands out of the door being licked by “Spot” the demon only grabs Amy’s hand. At the end of the movie, Diane is able to venture outside and return without being killed although she has a lot of blood on her. When she returns, Melissa says “I saw Amy” referring to her hallucination yet Diane replies “I know, I know” so either Diane has lost her mind (which is also possible given her state) or Diane saw Amy-Demon outside.

The final theory I have is, the whole thing is a metaphor for being isolated but that falls apart because of the whole Amy flashback plot line.


I’m really on the fence with We Need to Do Something, it starts off strong, effectively setting up the characters and their personalities but then the story becomes more and more convoluted.

Amy’s inclusion really derails what could have been a metaphorical story about isolation and it’s effects especially seeing as the movie was made during quarantine. Adding the witchcraft element makes the film’s ending way more ambiguous than it needs to be and causes more confusion.

It also felt the movie was trying to shoehorn in the effects of isolation with Pat Healy’s Robert character. Robert appears to be the only one affected by the constant isolation and it’s effects, granted he was also suffering from withdrawal. The rest of the family seems weirdly okay with their situation after the first day.

A good ambiguous ending provides at least some closure but a confusing ending leaves you wondering why you wasted your time. Also implying all your characters die in the end is not an ambiguous ending if you have no idea what is causing their deaths.

Overall the acting is not bad and the dialogue feels in character with each of the personalities that are established. If you’re the type that wants your movies to have at least some conclusive answers than you might not like We Need to Do Something otherwise go for it. Most of the movie is entertaining and does make you genuinely interested in what the hell is going on.


Stuff to Ignore

Rotten Tomatoes – 56

Metacritic – 48

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