We Are Still Here (2015)
Starring Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham, Elissa Dowling, Guy Gane, Zorah Burress
Directed by Ted Geoghegan
Growing up in the 1970s was a real trip, man. Many of you don’t remember things like the TV Movie-of-the-Week, but I sure do. Why? Because that’s where a lot of people drew inspiration for their own films. From classics like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Gargoyles, and Dark Night of the Scarecrow to obscurities like When Michael Calls and The Horror at 37,000 Feet, you just can’t beat them.
The question “What made those movies so good?” is a really easy one to answer. Back then filmmakers weren’t worried about catering to any particular demographic; they were just trying to make the best movies they could. Man, how I miss those days. The cool thing, though, is that the feature film debut of Ted Geoghegan, entitled We Are Still Here, would have fit perfectly with even the best of those films. But more on that in a bit; first let’s get to the plot crunch.
Forever goddess Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig play Paul and Anne Sacchetti, a couple grieving over the loss of their son who are very much still in love but completely out of sync. As a means to get away from it all, they purchase an old home in a rather rural community known as The Dagmar House… a new beginning to help them get on with their lives. Yet, something is a bit off about their new digs. It soon becomes apparent that they’re not alone in their humble abode, and what’s there could be anyone or anything. Anne soon believes the spirit of their son, Bobby, is haunting them so she calls in her dearest friends, Jacob (Fessenden) and May (Marie) Lewis, who are known to be quite gifted in the ways of contacting the other side. They make contact all right… and along the way all hell breaks loose on a truly frightening scale.
We Are Still Here is the first incredibly scary and pure horror film of 2015. There’s just nothing out there like it, and there hasn’t been in quite some time. In fact, even though it shares a lot in common with the aforementioned classic films from the Seventies, it also displays a great deal of affection for some of Lucio Fulci’s finest efforts. Not only do we get some good old fashioned shivers, but each one is chased with a surprising amount of gore (all practical) that goes down wonderfully and overall adds to the experience, making it that much more visceral.
Also worthy of mention is the film’s cast, which delivers in spades. We all should consider ourselves lucky that Barbara Crampton decided to resume her acting career because this lady brings a lot to the table that’s been sorely missing. She nails her performance of a grieving mother dealing with extreme and insane circumstances to a “t,” and you cannot help but feel her every emotion, especially her fright and horror.
Another shining star is TV/film legend Monte Markham, who at 79 years old still manages to bring a delightful amount of believability and vigor to his role. What we have here is a damned fine performance from one of the most beloved yet underrated actors of our time.
Couple these two with solid performances from the always great Larry Fessenden, the wonderfully odd Lisa Marie, and the ever-frazzled Andrew Sensenig; and we have a winner here, folks.
Another great thing about the flick is its big bads, the Dagmar family portrayed by Elissa Dowling, Guy Gane, and Zorah Burress. These cats? They’re as vengeful and evil as they come, and they look damned scary. When they’re on the screen, they’re there for one purpose… cause bloody chaos while scaring the hell out of the viewer. Mission accomplished.
Geoghegan himself definitely deserves a great deal of recognition as well as he’s managed to make a movie set in the 1970s without a high-cost budget to make it look like the 1970s. Everything feels very authentic, and he directs his characters with a confidence that bleeds over onto the screen. It’s clear that he had a vision of what this film should be, and kudos to Snowfort Pictures and Dark Sky Films for letting him paint a truly ghastly, fun, and beautiful picture. We hope this movie opens a lot of doors for him, and we’re willing to bet it will. It definitely should.
Nowadays it’s hard to make an effective haunted house movie as we’ve pretty much seen it all. They range from extremely minimalistic to over-the-top silly. We Are Still Here hits the sweet spot effortlessly and is a horror film that is not only firing on all cylinders but delivers on all counts. Keep your eyes out for this one. It’s an old school spookshow that is NOT to be missed!