Some days ago, we had the chance to see “We Are Still Here” a film written and directed by Ted Geoghegan, that has been creating a good buzz on the festival circuit. At first I was kinda skeptical, since I’m not a big fan of the “Haunted House” sub-genre, but I have no trouble saying that I loved this movie. It was great to find a film that not only presents a nice cool story but also manages to stay away from cliches that seem to plague horror films nowadays, not to mention the collection of cheap jump scares and even the overdrawn long sequences where literally NOTHING happens.
Ok, so, What’s the plot, you say?
On “We Are Still Here” we meet the Sacchetti, a couple that moves in to an old house in New England after loosing their son in a car accident. Anne, the mother, falls into depression, and her husband Paul thinks the change of scenery can help her cope with the loss, but to their surprise, it seems that there is also in the house a strong supernatural presence, which Anne starts to believe is her deceased son trying to communicate with them.
After listening to some wicked stories about the origins of their house, which was not only a funeral home, but part of an scandal that caused the original owner’s demise at the hands of the townsfolk, Anne and Paul decide to call some free-spirit friends that are self-taught psychics and like to dabble in the supernatural to try to contact their son, as well trying to explain some weird situations seen on the house previously. As soon as the Lewis arrive, they get a bad vibe from the house, and notice the people on the town giving them strange looks, hinting the Sacchetti that there might some other reason why their house had not been occupied for 30 years besides the price of the rent.
As you might guess, even though the Lewis are nice people and more than capable on the matters of magical crystals and cleansing of auras, things don’t go so well when they try to contact the spirit sharing the house with the Sacchetti and that will keep us guessing if they have being told the whole truth about the house, or if they will ever be able to leave alive….
“We are Still Here” has a very nice complete story, with a lot of attention to little details and nice twists all around. It also has interesting characters and top level acting. We could say it’s a throwback or homage to the supernatural thrillers from the 70’s, placing the plot even on those years, but in my opinion, this is a great movie that can hold on its own without the need to rely on the gimmick of the technology that we see thru the film (or more precisely, the lack of it).
Although I thought the pacing was nice and steady, I can see that might be too slow for some people, since like I said previously, the film is sort of an homage to suspense films of the 70’s, specially to the works of Lucio Fulci, but in the end it’s a great ride. At no time I felt bored, and the film is just as long as it need to be (near to only 85 minutes run time). This movie also has very good special effects, and without abusing them, give us a healthy doses of gore, accompanied by a soundtrack that not only helped to set up the mood, but also was used only when needed, and guess what? The film never went for the cheap scares route! How can you not love that?
With a script and direction from Ted Geoghegan “We Are Still Here” had a cast that included Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Larry Fessenden, Lisa Marie, Monte Markham, Susan Gibney, Michael Patrick Nicholson and Kelsea Dakota.
I won’t go further into details due possible spoilers, but I’ll say that this film is more than a simple haunted house story, it deals also with themes of loss, redemption, curses, pagan traditions, and we get a peek into a mythology that could very well give material for sequels or spin-offs. Geoghegan also give us with this film an ending that can be seen on two ways, and according to what we choose, it changes the tone a lot. Well done, sir.
Highly recommended, “We Are Still Here” gets my 5/5 score, and goes to my “Buy” List, not to mention that I’ll be on the look out for Geoghegan’s future projects.
“We Are Still Here” has a VOD June 5th release date.