SOMETIMES IMPULSE BUYS PAY OFF
Main Cast: Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Two months after the death of their teenage son, Bobby, the Sacchettis, Paul (Andrew Sensenig, Upstream Color) and Anne (Barbara Crampton, From Beyond), move to a farmhouse in rural New England, hoping to put the tragedy behind them. But immediately after moving in, the couple begin to suspect their son’s spirit may have followed them. Hoping to connect with Bobby, Anne invites May (Lisa Marie, Mars Attacks!) and Jacob Lewis (Larry Fessenden, We Are What We Are) for the weekend. May is a psychic and Anne wants to see if what she’s sensing in the house is Bobby, or something else.
As it happens, the house they’re in has a bit of a history itself; back in the 1800s, the town ran off the man who owned the property, a mortician named Lassander Dagmar, after it was discovered he wasn’t burying the bodies brought to him, he was selling them.
Then again, creepy noises, moving pictures, and a basement that remains at a constant 100+ degrees, maybe the Dagmars weren’t exactly run out of town, after all…
We Are Still Here is a 2015 horror movie from writer/director Ted Geoghegan (Sweatshop, Barricade). Geoghegan has several writing credits, but this is only his second as director, and his first full-length feature, and I for one was impressed. This does not look like the first efforts of any director.
We Are Still Here is tense, creepy, and packed with atmosphere and suspense. Even the jump scares work here. It’s not often a movie, even a haunted house movie, can give me the chills ten minutes in while I’m watching it in broad daylight. But this one managed it.
The cast turn in excellent performances, especially Crampton and Sensenig, who give the grieving parents dimension. Geoghegan seems to take great joy in NOT letting them play the cliché haunted house protagonists, instead giving them a strength and a resolve to not flee at the first sign of the paranormal. In fact, Anne seems to embrace it, as long as she’s convinced her son is the spirit behind the goings-on. Geoghegan picks his moments intelligently and doles out the story beats as needed. Even the exposition scene near the beginning with neighbor Dave McCabe (Monte Markham, from pretty much every TV show produced in the 1970s-80s), doesn’t feel weighted down.
But for me, the real star of this movie is the special effects department. On what had to be a relatively small budget, the folks at Oddtopsy combined scary and gory without overdoing either, and made this movie work as well as it did. This film knows what it is and it plays to those strengths, and in doing so, it makes itself all the stronger and more effective. While not the BEST horror movie I’ve seen in 2015, We Are Still Heere is pretty high on the list nonetheless, and I’ll probably be watching this one again, with my daughter.
–C. Dennis Moore