Director: Ted Geoghegan
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham
This house needs a family
Paul and Anne Saccheti has been through rough times after their son was killed in a car crash. They decide to start a new life when they find an old house out in a small town. Their neighbors are fast to inform them of the gruesome old story of the house and it doesn’t take long before the couple starts to feel that there is something in the house with them.
Haunted house movies have been dominating the horror genre for the last ten years, most of them have either been done in the “found footage” type of filming or had some very stylish and professional camera work like Insidious. There are still a place left for a film in the genre to have a bit of a retro 70’s film style in my opinion and the few that have tried that haven’t been that great.
We Are Still Here starts out nicely enough, it is a low budget film but it takes use of the aesthetics to set up a classic haunted house atmosphere. It’s refreshing that the main character aren’t in fact the average nuclear family, this is a middle age couple without any children left, and the child they did have had turned into a young adult. In fact, nearly all the characters in this film is grown ups, a nice change from the typical cast of a modern American horror film.
The cast is also very genre friendly with Barbara Crampton as Anne and Larry Fessenden as Jacob, the hippie spiritual friend of the couple. The film paces through the story a bit too fast for us to really get under the skin of the characters though, with a running time of only 80 minutes it skips the character development a bit too much. The couple had lost their kid, we should have had more time to feel their pain in order to get close to them.
It doesn’t take long before the horror elements start to kick in and sadly they are very underwhelming. The ghost figures look terrible and by the time the film gets to its final act it trades out any build up of mood with cheap gore instead. It also features one of the poorest possession scenes I’ve seen before, relying only on the acting of Fessenden to convince the audience instead of using some sort of makeup or special effects to enhance the drama.
This is the first feature film by Tom Geoghegan, who both wrote and directed the film. I am not sure what his intention was with the story, on one hand it feels like an attempt to go back to the old school style of filming a ghost story, but on the other hand the violence and gore feels out of place. Perhaps the idea was to do a fusion of both. I wish he would have gone for a straight up scary film set in the old house though.
We Are Still Here disappointed me. It started out with the perfect feel for a great scare film, but ended up not being able to follow it up and take advantage of the good cast and great location of the house. It is not a bad film, by all means, but the potential was just better than the final product.