Actors: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Larry Fessenden
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Dark Sky Films
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Run Time: 83 minutes
Part of the problem I have always had with haunted house movies is the logic behind the family’s refusal to simply move out when the haunting begins, and We Are Still Here sidesteps this by confining the horror action to the film’s climax. Once the truth about the house is revealed, it is too late to escape and an hour of slow build-up finally pays off with a chaotic final act. If only the journey to get to the explosive ending were a bit more competently made, I would have an easier time recommending We Are Still Here. As it stands, the last twenty minutes make a great short film, while the first hour feels like amateur filmmaking.
A remarkably large amount of horror is about catharsis, redemption and healing, despite the flashiness of the gore and horror violence. Haunted house movies are perfectly paired for themes of loss and regret, with the idea that the dead remain to right the wrongs of the past. After their son is killed in a tragic car crash, Paul and Anne (Andrew Sensenig and Barbara Crampton) move to a secluded house in
New England in an attempt to start fresh. This plan fails
horribly when the couple begins to suspect that the ghost of their dead son has
followed them to their new home. Coincidentally, the parents (Lisa Marie, Jacob
Lewis) of their son’s friend have experience contacting the dead and join Paul
and Anne to seek answers in the house.
Although the elderly couple have hopes that the spirit in their home is merely their dead son, it should be clear that there are larger forces at play by the way that the locals treat their new neighbors. In typical haunted house fashion, two neighbors show up on their doorstep for the sole reason of telling them about the house’s history. Treated as the ultimate outsiders aside from the exposition-setting visit, the community doesn’t seem to have much faith that Paul and Anne will remain in the house for very long.
When the action starts towards the end of the film, We Are Still Here throws all kinds of horror arsenal at the audience. The haunting takes on physical forms that often resemble demons or zombies rather than ghosts, allowing for a much higher level of carnage than expected. This might have been even more satisfying if it didn’t take an hour of mediocre melodramatic performances and predictable plot twists to get to. Writer/director Ted Geoghegan uses his feature-film debut to showcase his ability with horror and violence, while simultaneously showing his weakness with actors and believable dialogue that’s not on-the-nose.
The Blu-ray release includes a commentary track with Geoghegan and producer Travis Stevens. There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette and two trailers for the film. The high definition presentation helps some of the digital horror effects, though it doesn’t have much impact on the first hour of the movie.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5/10
Historical Significance: 3/10