Film Review – We Are Still Here (2015)

We Are Still Here movie

We Are Still Here

Directed by Ted Geoghegan

Starring Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden

Review by Jordan

A detached couple mourning the death of their son move to an old, decrepit house in the snowy fields of New England, hoping a new environment and way of life will ease the pain. There they’re greeted by an abnormally warm basement, curious and equally abnormal neighbors and a family of murderous ghosts seeking vengeance for a terrible and long-hidden town secret.

The temperature of downstairs aside, it’s not a terribly warm welcome… and after friends of theirs who can communicate with the dead arrive and sense the darkness present, they realize beyond a shadow of a doubt they’ve made the worst real estate decision possible.

Led by a strong performance by industry icon Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond), who sheds any traces of her scream queen image to powerfully convey an inner sorrow and maternal grit, We Are Still Here is a horror film that manages to use the haunted house setting in three distinct ways. It begins as a classic, slow burning mystery to be solved by the displaced mournful in the mold of The Changeling (1980), before ratcheting up the nasty scares like Insidious (2010) and culminating in an action packed final act that paints the interior red with blood and encourages laughing to accompany the squirming. This could all sound very confused and misdirected, but in fact its undeniably clever, as each style on its own would require near perfection to resonate among recent masterworks The House of the Devil (2009), The Innkeepers (2011) and The Conjuring (2013), but when combined in an increasingly knowing fashion there is immense fun to be had watching the many surprises unfold with each triggering a slight change in tonal direction.

It makes sense that this energetic direction comes from someone making their first feature film, and based on the evidence presented here Ted Geoghegan has a solid career ahead of him.

Marketed as a pure horror movie drawing influence from cornerstones of the genre, it makes sense that We Are Still Here has the potential to disappoint; an electrician having a grizzly encounter with unprovoked evil and an escape by car ending abruptly are two moments that will terrify most, but these are followed by a recognized actor eating a pair of socks and shotgun deaths so sudden they can only be funny. Ultimately what arises from the wreckage of this farmhouse is a likable Frankenstein, pieced together with worthy influences and intent on entertaining.

3.5 eaten socks out of 5

 

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