Mild Spoilers ...
- We Are Still Here review by NP
When a middle-aged couple Anne and Paul Sacchetti (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) move into an isolated, creepy looking house, in a film called ‘We Are Still Here’, it’s no great surprise to guess what will happen.
I love horror films that use natural elements to underline a sense of isolation. Fog, sea, rain, nightfall – or a neighbourhood in the icy grip of snowbound winter, as here – all provide a background of seclusion. The Director (and writer) Ted Geoghegan makes great use of this, generously using imagery of icy branches, frosted pathways or snow blown like smoke by gales across fields, which really promotes the atmosphere, as inside the house, things begin to get creepy almost from the get-go. One moment we are treated to a build-up of a ghostly nature; the next, a sedate panorama of the whitened beauty of the environment.
At first, delving so soon into early frights seems like a mistake. Eerie noises, disowned footsteps, shadows moving of their own accord – all these flourishes aren’t particularly effective when we don’t know the characters they are inflicting themselves upon, or indeed any kind of backstory. And yet the pace does not dissipate. Things get progressively bloodier. Other characters are introduced, and if they are lucky, they are not graphically killed by blackened, glowing-eyed dead things. And by this time, we have learnt enough about the main couple - that they are still grieving over the loss of their son, and that they think the spirit in the house may be his – to invest empathy in their fate.
One thing that sets this film apart from many others is that the main characters are middle-aged. The young couple, when they arrive, don’t last for very long before they are despatched, their bodies never found or mentioned in the narrative again. And yet events occur at such a pace as the story moves on, there is little time to take stock.
Explanations are brief and scant. We learn that the house may have been built upon an ancient burial site, was owned by the Dagmars, and that they used the place as a funeral home and sold the corpses. Whatever the explicit reasons, there’s more than enough ghoulishness within the premises to make reasonable the current hauntings.
The superb score is composed by Wojciech Golczewski, and was released in 2015.
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