We Are Still Here
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, and Monte Markham
Dark Sky Films
The haunted house genre is plentiful with material lately. With the successful box office success of recent years, the quality of the scares has become rather stagnant, with most reduced to methods of turning the volume up to eleven in promotion of the jump scare. Still, there is something about these films that remain fascinating and keep audiences coming back year after year, sequel after sequel. Just as the “Saw” franchise made gore fans return to see what new and creative methods of blood-spattered violence could be utilized, the haunted house genre makes viewers ponder the new ways they can be scared, perhaps startled is a better term. The films in horror that maintain beyond the exit door are always the ones that are inventive and display an understanding for how horror films work.
“We Are Still Here” is the directorial debut from Ted Geoghegan, who also wrote and produced the film. The film takes place in 1979 in the isolated, snowy region of a small New England town. Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) are moving away from the big city after the tragic death of their son in an automobile accident. Anne is devastated, lost in the memories of the past and torn by every step forward into the future. The emotional separation of the couple and the turmoil it has put on their marriage can be felt in early scenes that display Paul’s frustration with Anne. Barbara Crampton has always been interesting to watch, from her roles in “Re-Animator”, “From Beyond”, and even recently “You’re Next”. She has proven herself a talented seasoned veteran. Genre mainstay Larry Fessenden makes a welcome appearance in a comedic role that has an unexpected horror twist.
Things take a bit of turn when the couple begins to experience strange happenings within the house, with each encounter with the entities becoming stronger, more violent, and soon deadly. Anne and Paul realize that there is more to the house than the spirits that are threatening them, and soon the secrets of the community come to light. There is nothing exceptional about the narrative, it’s all cut and paste from other horror films seen before. What excels is the design, a mix of tension driven atmosphere that leads to gruesome blood spilling. While the ghosts look good on first glimpse they are over utilized, which quickly displays some of the flaws in their CGI assisted design. And, while the actors do a good job of making the characters feel authentic, the narrative lacks the strength to move the film into places that would make the film more unique and less imitative.
“We Are Still Here” is a carefully paced haunted house ghost story. While the film may suffer from narrative issues, the film works by being content with delivering creepy, well-composed imagery over big jump scares, and to a large degree this method works exceptionally well.
Monte’s Rating / 3.00 out of 5.00