We Are Still Here (2015)
“This house needs a family.”
We Are Still Here (2015)
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie
Synopsis: In the cold, wintery fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years – and demands a sacrifice.
We Are Still Here, the debut feature from producer Ted Geoghegan, opens with a series of establishing shots which sort of gets you worrying about how he’s going to find the time to fit a story in, given the movie’s trim 80 minute running time (which is actually more like 75 minutes when the end credits are taken into account). Apart from a few tantalising glimpses of something dark (and perhaps a little crispy) lurking in the shadows, he’s certainly in no hurry to pile on the scares as we watch middle-aged couple Anne and Paul Sachetti (Barbara Crampton – From Beyond, You’re Next – and Andrew Sensenig) settle into their new home in the remote New England countryside. They’re mourning the death of their adult son, but they mourn apart – he at the local bar, she in the lounge of their new home, which suggests that the tragedy has created an irreparable rift in their marriage. When odd noises in the house set Anne to thinking that perhaps the spirit of her son has followed them to their new home, she invites her hippy medium friends May (Lisa Marie) and Jacob (Larry Fessenden – You’re Next) to check the place out, little realising that the residents of the nearby town have a sinister reason for ensuring the Sachettis never leave their new home…
We Are Still Here is a perfect example of a good idea that’s woefully under-developed, and it’s a little difficult to understand why, given that Geoghegan, who also wrote the screenplay, could have extended the running time by thirty minutes in order to craft a more coherent back story and crank up the tension. Instead, he relies on a series of old newspaper headlines over the closing credits to fill in the blanks. That’s just one example of how Geoghegan the director is let down by Geoghegan the screenwriter; others are the way in which an electrician who is attacked by a creature while working in the basement of the house is promptly forgotten after the following scene, and the shooting of another minor character for no obvious reason other than to demonstrate just how evil the shooter is. Even worse are the moments of unintentional humour, such as when we’re forced to witness the terrifying spectacle of a possessed character eating a sock.
On the plus side, We Are Still Here does manage to create a decent level of tension at times, and Geoghegan at least deserves praise for rejecting the cheap scare tactics so commonly used by modern horror moviemakers; rather than jump cuts and sudden loud noises, he builds a mood of dread by hinting at impending terrors biding their time in the shadows. Those raised on the in-your-face horrors of Saw and Hostel will no doubt find such a slow build-up intolerable, but it shows a maturity on Geoghegan’s part which might just pay dividends in the future.
(Reviewed on 1st November 2015)