Making a throw back horror flick is kind of like being in a relationship where you know the other party has little to know interest in you or the relationship. The harder you try, the more desperate you become and in an ironic turn of events, said partner just grows to resent you and ends up sleeping with your 3rd cousin at Apple Bee’s while your trying to celebrate your 26th birthday… or.. um.. something like that. The trick most film makers haven’t gotten (*Cough* Tarantino *Cough* Death Proof *Cough*) is to not let us, horror fans, know you’re making a throw back (See Ti West’s The House of the Devil). The second horror fans think the film maker is winking at us, we instantly resent them and can’t wait to shit all over their movie. We Are Still Here is a horror movie for horror fans made by a horror fan. But is that necessarily a good thing?
Anne and Paul (Barbara Crampton & Andrew Sensenig) have recently lost there adult son. Well not lost like at Wal-Mart, he’s dead, they know perfectly well where he’s at. Having a hard time dealing with this loss, the couple go for a change in scenery and move to the New England country side in hopes of helping the grieving process. Things start to go bump in the night and Anne calls in close family friends and ghost hunting couple Anne and Jacob (Lisa Marie & Larry Fessenden). Not long after their arrival things go from “bump in the night” to ” We gotta get the hell outta here” real quick, but the house and towns people have other plans.
For the first half of the movie We Are Still Here is an almost paint by numbers haunted house flick. We are also treated to a very wooden and stale performance by genre legend Barbara Crampton. I hate typing those words as it is bad mouthing a lady who is apart of several of my favorite 80’s horror flicks, but her performance is almost a deal breaker.
Fortunately for us, Larry Fessenden arrives and that’s when the movie stops being paint by numbers and starts being balls to the wall horror. Fessenden rarely disappoints and there are no exceptions here. He has a seance scene that features almost zero SFX and is still bone chilling. Balls to the wall is a great way to describe not just Fessenden’s performance, but also his entire body of work within the genre. If you have yet to discover what this man is doing (both behind and infront of the camera) do yourself a favor and jump right in. Larry Fessenden is the horror genre’s saving grace.
The first half of the film is just set up for a intense and brutal second half, that
climaxes with a gore hounds wet dream of an ending. Not a stitch of CGI to be found and we are treated to full on mayhem that is rarely seen in haunted house movies. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this much red stuff in a ghost flick. And the SFX are all top notch and damn impressive. I love seeing practical effects in horror movies, but I turn into a giggling school girl when I see effects this good.
If I was 12 years old and happened upon We Are Still Here on a video store shelf, this movie would be held right up there with the greats. Ted Geoghegan gives horror fans just what we want: an interesting story that does not hold back. In a time when most haunted house flicks are going the “PG-13” route, Geoghegan shows big balls delivering We Are Still Here. That said I gotta run, got tickets for Insidious: Chapter 3… What!?!? I had he had balls not me.