WE ARE STILL HERE (2015)
Written and directed by Ted Geoghegan
A couple move into their new house after moving out of the city. Still mourning the loss of their son who died in an accident, wife Anne Sachetti begins to feel his presence in their new home. Though her husband Paul dismisses the idea, Anne invites her psychic friend May and her stoner hippy husband Jacob to their home, with May and Jacob’s son Harry and his girlfriend set to join soon after. It isn’t long into May and Jacob’s visit that May feels a dark presence in their home and it isn’t the Sachetti’s deceased son. With an evil lurking in their home and a prying neighbour sticking his beak into their business, Anne and Paul must discover the secrets of their new home before it’s too late.
WE ARE STILL HERE is a slow-moving horror that never really gets going until Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie come onto the scene as new-age couple Jacob and May. Shots of the exterior of the home and inanimate objects to set the eerie tone seem to linger that bit too long and you get the feeling that anyone would be mad to stay in a town like this, even if the house is a generous size. First impressions suggest a haunted house with poltergeists but the beings soon manifest themselves into physical entities in a sweltering hot cellar in the Sachetti’s new home and it’s then you realise that anyone who sets foot in the house is essentially screwed. Despite this, there’s never really a sense of dread with a lack of a build up of tension, deciding to show the secret inhabitants early on in the film.
Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig’s characters Anne and Paul come across as nice but sheltered human beings and offer no depth in comparison to Jacob and May. Their dialogue is pretty basic and they seem to be clueless as to what’s going on around them, even when it’s happening right in front of their eyes. They become hard to care for, with the emotion invested in their kooky friends Jacob and May instead. When the shit hits the fan, it’s hard to root for a family you don’t really care about.
At the heart of WE ARE STILL HERE is a horror film and even though it’s slow in getting going, it surprises with the amount of blood on display and the way in which the kills in the film are executed. The deaths are gloriously over-the-top and brutal, contrasting the quaint approach of the storyline and the plain, if a little boring, depiction of the middle-aged couple at the centre of the storyline. There’s exploding heads, fists through chests and knives to the neck that the viewer has to deal with, all with as much blood-splatter as you can handle. Dare I say, it almost feels as though the film is trying too hard to impress the horror crowd, especially when the core story itself doesn’t quite live up to expectation, particularly in the delivery of it.
The end of the movie comes as quite a shock and disappointment as I found myself finally getting into the film with all the guts and gore flying about the place. By the end, you may still have some questions as to what exactly the heart of the story is about. It’s important that viewers stay and watch the credit scenes otherwise vital aspects of the plot may be lost on the audience. If it wasn’t for these scenes, I wouldn’t have realised to the full extent the madness behind the killlings and hauntings in the home.
The brutal deaths will appeal to gorehounds but overall the film struggles with its pace and lack of tension to actually make you care about the characters and thus the story.