Wednesday, June 10, 2015

FILM REVIEW: We Are Still Here (2015)


Sometimes. Just...sometimes...it feels really good to write a good review about a good film. What follows is one of those good times.

I feel bad that I've been neglecting this site a bit this year. But, when you are the only one running the show and you pile up as many cool projects on your plate as you possibly can...some things sorta fall by the wayside. Such is the case for everyone's favorite (or not-so-favorite) Deviant. Been so busy working on a short film and writing a book...that I kinda didn't have time to go out and watch the films that I knew were gonna be mediocre...*cough-Poltergeist/Insidious2-cough*. However, there are some films that you gotta make time for...and one of those films is the feature debut from writer/director Ted Geoghegan...We Are Still Here.

I've been waiting for this film ever since I first heard about it last year. Let's face it...Barbara Crampton is one of those genre actresses that is on most 80's gorehounds' top 5 list of hottest scream queens of all time. And if she isn't...SHAME ON YOU! Needless to say, the years have been very kind to the still breath-taking actress. Since her turn as the unfortunate mother in You're Next, I've been dying to see her in more genre stuff. Barbara is a great actress in her own right and plays a woman in peril like no other...and to see her in a supernatural film like this playing a role that really showcases her talents certainly warms my dark heart. So good.


The basic premise of the film dumps you in the car as you ride with an older couple struggling with the loss of their son and in an effort to cope, the couple is introduced to us while settling into a recently purchased house out in the middle of nowhere during a New England winter. Familiar territory for me, as I grew up in places like this town back east. I love a good wintry horror...don't you? Crampton plays Anne Sachetti and Andrew Sensenig plays her husband Paul...dealing with the loss in his own douchey way. I only say douchey...because he sort of seems a little detached from the freaky shit that is happening in this freaky goddamn house and poor Anne is made to feel like she is losing her mind. I usually hate male characters like these...because they serve as sort of the "sensible dude" in films like this when things start to unhinge. Altho, I will say that, thankfully, Paul becomes more likable as the story progresses. And, boy...do things progress.

The always reliable Monte Markham shows up as the shady Dave McCabe with something brewing under his nonchalant demeanor. Something you just can't put your finger on. It isn't until poor Joe the Electrician (Marvin Patterson) comes out to fix that goddamn heating problem that we get a good taste of the being that we're dealing with in the film. So creepy and cool-looking. But, then...I'm always a sucker for blacked-out beings with white eyes. By the time the wacky hippy spiritualistic medium couple roll up (the lovely Lisa Marie and Mr. Prolific, himself...Larry Fessenden)...shit starts to get downright evil. Oh...and Dave McCabe? Yeah...he starts to show his true colors.


I won't get too specific about the stuff that goes on in the film...for fear of spoiling the good things for you...but, I will say that people start to perish due to a centuries old curse on the house in which every 30 years the evil forces of said house demands a sacrifice. Which is cool and all...but there were certain overt explanations of the details where the story sort of lost its grip it had on me just a tad.

It is said that We Are Still Here  is greatly influenced by the works of Fulci...and that's really great. However, I usually tend to lose a little interest the more you try to make sense of things and give malevolent spirits a purpose and resolution. Call me crazy...but, I enjoy a good Italian head-scratcher...especially when the film just sort of does its own thing without explaining anything. When the film does its damnedest to justify a malevolent entity's actions...I dunno...things get a little soft...and that's what sort of occurs here. A more muted tone and less people stepping in to explain shit...would have gone a long way.

Still...I loved We Are Still Here  for all of the things that it gets right. The perfect balance of restraint and payoff really shines here...and the performances (save for the one dude's girlfriend...I forget her name) are all great...and it really is great to have Barbara Crampton front and center in genre films once again. In the midst of the current Hollywood unnecessary sequels and even more unnecessary remakes...We Are Still Here  displays a clear genuine love for the genre that isn't seen too often in films today. Hell, I even enjoyed the J&B reference...or should I say B&J. Absolutely recommend catching this film.






Thanks for reading,

bryan.




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