(dir. Ted Geoghegan)
|Dark Sky Films|
Aw yeah! It’s Year 3 of 31 Days of Horror, and I’m back with plenty of favorites, and first time watches to keep you spooked, and on your toes this Halloween season. And if you want to supplement your viewing pleasures, be sure to check out Audiences Everywhere’s list of the 100 Greatest Horror Films of the 2000s (So Far).
First up, we have last year’s Italian Horror inspired, We Are Still Here, which took the independent genre circuit by storm last year when it first premiered at South by Southwest. Set in the 1970s, the film follows a grieving mother, Anne (played by scream queen, Barbara Crampton) and her husband, Paul, as they move into a new house that may be possessed by the spirit of their recently deceased son…or something else entirely.
Despite whatever the plot synopsis may convey, We Are Still Here is not a typical haunted house story, at least not in the modern sense. Yes, many of the tropes are there from dark shapes moving in the corner of the frame, a basement with mysterious properties, falling picture frames, and séances, but Geoghegan manages to use these tropes to subvert expectations, and deliver a story far grander in scale than haunted house movies have proven to be. Most interestingly is how the film manages to play with these expectations through its tone. There’s a certain sense of melancholy that pervades the film, but also a biting sense of humor that is at times disconcerting in the face of the film’s various tragedies. The film progresses slowly, opting for a sense of mood instead of instant scares, but film’s runtime is served well in the creation of an odd experience. This is a positive aspect because while many horror films are frightening, or gory, or shocking, very few manage to be odd in a way doesn’t dictate audience reaction.
While the odd neighbors, spirits and Lovecraftian evil that make up the film’s horror elements are frightening in the most standard horror movie sense, the true horror comes from the possessive sense of home and what a lack of home entails. It’s said that home is something you take with you, but when you can’t take it and are unable to move on, then what space are you existing in if it’s no longer home? And so We Are Still Here takes a grieving couple in a grieving home in a grieving town and examines the horrific impact of an inability to let go.
Scare Factor: 3/5 Featuring a great soundtrack, memorable effects, and an odd take steeped in America’s history and current sense of ownership, We Are Still Here rewards the patient viewer with the necessary amounts of strange and gore to make it excellent way to start off the month’s horror festivities.
*Audiences Everywhere’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief, David Shreve, interviewed director Ted Geoghegan last year so be sure to give it a read and keep checking back in with Audiences Everywhere for more interviews with horror’s hottest directors during the rest of the month.