We Are Still Here has a lot of potential and a wonderfully creepy tone, but something is missing for it to really work
We Are Still Here is almost a period piece, but not as in the really old days. Oh no, we’re right in the golden age of horror, which means the late 1970s and early 80s (the story takes place in 1979, to be exact). It always amazes me how truly creepy something as simple as not having easy communication tools at hand can be. You can never call for help and Google something, when things get scary. It creates a completely different backdrop for a story and can often make the mystery a lot more interesting for horror movies. Usually, my go-to answer to anything I’m wondering is always “Google it!”, but in We Are Still Here that simply isn’t an option. First world problems, I know.
In any case, I’m sorry to say that I don’t think they take enough advantage of this particular element in We Are Still Here. The characters are divided into outdated hippie-types and conservative farm-people. They’re all very stereotypical, which (again!) can work to your advantage if you take a kitsch approach, but this seems too serious for that and then it just doesn’t come off very well.
That’s not to say that the cast isn’t working, because the actors give some really good performances. For horror fans, there’s sweet recognision with the leading lady, Barbara Crampton, who recently starred in You’re Next (which I loved) and Lords of Salem (also, she was in the horror cult classic Re-Animator). We also get Larry Fessenden, who also starred in You’re Next along with Lisa Marie (probably best known for being Tim Burton’s muse and former fiancée, who inspired the character Sally in The Nightmare Before Christmas). But again, with a cast that brings such potential, it’s sad to me that the movie never really comes together.
Ted Geoghegan wrote and directed We Are Still Here, and this was his debut. I don’t like being negative and I definitely saw some potential in this movie, but I also feel it could’ve been so much better. The story is interesting and I like a lot of the choices for style, but it has some issues with being too serious while also being too stereotypical and that’s an unfortunate combination. We need a bit more camp, when stereotypes are used. Otherwise it misses the mark too much as this was the case. Still, enjoy it for everything it does right and make sure you watch it in the dark with the sound up high.
We Are Still Here is on Netflix (US) right now.
[This review was first published in Danish over at HeavenofHorror.dk on November 14, 2015]
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Writer: Ted Geoghegan
Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden
In the cold, wintery fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years – and demands a sacrifice.