Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
January 1st, 2015

We Are Still Here

We Are Still Here
Directed by Ted Geoghegan
Written by Ted Geoghegan, Richard Griffin
Starring Barbara Crampton, Elissa Dowling, Andrew Sensenig
84 mins

So with 2016 now a reality, it's time for our first strike of the new year. We've got a ghost story to kick things off with called "We Are Still Here." It comes our way from no less than Ted Geoghegan, who's been seen in several other titles throughout the early 2000s. Can his new ghost story keep things rolling, or will this end up a dead piece of real estate?

"We Are Still Here" takes us out to New England, where a certain house lies still and quiet in New England's fields. Once a decade, however, that changes, as the house undergoes a few changes and starts demanding human sacrifice. It's 1979, and the Sacchetti family--what's left of it, anyway, following the loss of their young son in a car accident--has decided to move to Maine for a bit of a change. The neighbors are already warning the surviving Sacchettis to leave the house, and Anne Sacchetti is starting to see her dead son roaming the house's halls. Will the Sacchettis make it out alive? Or will the bill on this chunk of land be a lot more than the bank would finance?

There are some noteworthy portions of this title going on here, but there's a lot of it that's almost unconscionably slow. For a movie with a runtime of just 84 minutes, that's unacceptable. I give them due credit for authenticity; even the televisions are showing material that looks like it would have shown up in the 1970s. However, this does change pretty nicely around the halfway mark when some of the real nastiness kicks in, and kicks in in grand style. Really, if the first half were anywhere near as menacing, ominous, and outright freak-out-inducing as the second half, you would have had to peel me off the floor because this thing would have been epic-tier weapons-grade horror for the ages. As it is, however, right now it's half-epic-tier weapons grade horror. That's not to say it's bad, but the first half feels like such a waste. The second half of this movie is a hyperkinetic fairyland of horror, madness, conspiracy and violence the likes of which few have ever pulled off. The first half is a sludgy wreck that wastes a lot of time on setup that doesn't go much of anywhere.

The ending is a bit anticlimactic, but works oddly well for the half-hour before it. Stick around through the credits for some background; exposition after the movie isn't a half bad way to go, and I could stand seeing this kind of thing more often. And there's one final, extremely subtle, little scare after the credits. You'll have to watch carefully or you'll miss it, but when you hear it, you'll get it.

Special features include a behind the scenes featurette, a commentary track, English subtitles, and trailers for "Redeemer," "Para Elisa," "Starry Eyes," and "We Are Still Here."

If you can endure the first half of "We Are Still Here," then I've got great news: you're going to be rewarded for your pains with a horrorshow to chill the blood and tingle the spine. It's just too bad that you had to endure the first half at all, because as worth it as the second half may have been, it makes the first half look sick and disastrous by comparison.