We Are Still Here (2015)

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A fresh start becomes a living nightmare in this horror thriller from Ted Geoghegan.

After the death of their son Bobby, Anne and Paul Sacchetti decide to start over and move to a small town in the New England countryside. Despite their attempt at a new life, Anne just can’t seem to get over the death of her son. However, she does attempt to make the most of things when she meets new neighbors Dave and Cat. The house Anne and Paul have moved into seems to be very special, but not for the reasons I would think. The house was built as a funeral home by the Dagmar family in the 1800s and the family were run out of town when they were revealed to be selling the corpses and burying empty caskets.

Anne begins to think Bobby is still present in the house, despite Paul’s reservations. To help heal, Anne invites friends May and Jacob Lewis, who are skilled in spirituality. However, the legends surrounding the house are revealed to be true when May and Jacob’s son is murdered in the house by a ghost in the basement. It is revealed that every 30 years, the Dagmar house needs to have a sacrifice or come out into the open and destroy the town. The two couples soon learn this will be a night they will never forget and intend to do something about it when the ghosts are ready to wreak havoc.

The haunted house tale is quite an interesting sub-genre of the horror film that can done in various ways. From the spirits possessing the house inhabitants to terrorizing said inhabitants, it may sound like a broken record. However, by adding various manipulations and twists, the genre can work in any way possible. Look at the Paranormal Activity and Insidious franchises for examples. For this film, writer-director Ted Geoghegan does a great job at how he presents his story as well as how he executes it.

Horror film legend Barbara Crampton shows why she is one of the best in the genre. As Anne, she really delves into an emotional state as she is seen as a woman who cannot get over the loss of her son, sinking her in a depression until her arrival at the house leads her to believe that her son is still around. She goes from lethargic to showing why she was one of the top scream queens of the 1980s era. Andrew Sensenig plays Paul, Anne’s husband, who is still reeling from the death as well, but tends to take things one day at a time until things become too much for Anne and thus, he decides to help her attempt to overcome her depression and supports her in her time of need.

As mentioned, the haunted house genre works when it comes to twists and manipulations and Geoghegan did an excellent job in showcasing the backstory of the Dagmar family, played by Guy Gane III, Elissa Dowling, and Zorah Burress. And just when you think that’s a big twist, it is, but then Geoghegan brings in another twist to the story within the film’s third act. And it is more than the trope of possession when it comes to a supporting character, but something even more surprising that will make the viewer actually cheer in the finale.

We Are Still Here is a fantastic take on the haunted house genre, with Barbara Crampton showing why she is one of horror film’s greatest talents and Ted Geoghegan’s story taking twists and turns at the most precise moments, mixed in with some great scares. A definitive indie horror gem.

WFG RATING: A

Dark Sky Films presents a Snowfort Pictures production. Director: Ted Geoghegan. Producer: Travis Stevens. Writer: Ted Geoghegan. Cinematography: Karim Hussain. Editing: Aaron Crozier and Josh Ethier.

Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham, Susan Gibney, Michael Patrick, Kelsea Dakota, Guy Gane III, Elissa Dowling, Zorah Burress, Marvin Patterson, Connie Neer.

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