As far as directorial debuts go, writer/director Ted Geoghegan has done an admirable job with We Are Still Here by crafting a quirky and clever supernaturally-infused tale of horror that wisely chooses to take a rather familiar premise into some unusual and often shocking territories. For anyone who grew up on a steady diet of horror movies from the last few decades, We Are Still Here has a lot of ingenuity and heart to offer as well as an unflinching third act that goes right for the jugular.
Trying to come to terms with the untimely death of their son, we meet Paul (Andrew Sensenig) and Anne (Crampton) Sacchetti at the start of We Are Still Here as they are moving into a secluded new house located in a small New England town. The move is meant to be a fresh start for the grieving parents but it only causes them further emotional distress, as Anne feels as if her son’s spirit has also moved into their new home and is trying to communicate with them after a series of odd occurrences has the couple guessing as to whether or not they’re truly living alone.
In order to get some answers to just what is really happening in their new home, Anne invites their good friends Jacob (Larry Fessenden) and May (Lisa Marie) over, the latter being something of a spiritual medium who can make contact with those who have traveled over to the other side. Things don’t go as planned as it’s revealed that the spirits living within the confines of their residence aren’t friendly at all- in fact, they require the sacrifice of human blood and they’ll stop at nothing to get what they desire most.
While it’s evident that We Are Still Here has an air of familiarity to it, Geoghegan wisely chooses to twist our expectations by infusing his old-school story with a few ingenious twists and an unabashed love of horror that keeps viewers on their proverbial feet. The film starts off with a bit of a slow-burn quality to it, but the pacing never languishes and once certain elements of the story are revealed, things take a demented turn that features some of the most visceral and inventive gore-soaked kills I’ve seen in a US film in some time, courtesy of special effects creator Marcus Koch.
The performances in We Are Still Here are all rather quite lovely, with Crampton providing the film with an emotionally grounded center that draws you in immediately. The pain in her character’s eyes is quite palpable from the start and you can see why it’s so easy for her to get manipulated by the malevolent forces trapped inside her new abode. Sensenig does a nice job with his performance as her well-meaning husband and it was very cool to see both Fessenden and Lisa Marie to get the opportunity to play roles in We Are Still Here that we wouldn’t necessarily expect to see from the duo.
A wonderfully weird, gory and full of heart and poignancy, We Are Still Here is an assured and well-crafted debut from Geoghegan that’s clearly a heartfelt love letter embracing what genre fans enjoy most about horror movies. While it may initially seem like a story we’ve seen before within the genre, We Are Still Here does an incredible job of taking all the right risks with the film’s balls-out third act that makes it a truly inventive standout amongst its supernatural peers of late.
Movie Score: 3.5/5