MOVIE REVIEW: ‘We Are Still Here’ Is Too Messy To Be Memorable

Film: We Are Still Here
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig
Directed by: Ted Geoghegan

There is a house in rural New England that feeds on people, and every thirty years it grows hungry for a new family. We Are Still Here tells the tale of the latest residents to call the house their own, and the fight for survival they will soon begin.

It’s winter when We Are Still Here begins, and Anne and Paul Sacchetti are busy moving their belongings into their new home. The house is old and creaky, lying just on the edge of a typical farming community, but something about the energy in the home feels different than other houses the Sacchettis have owned. They tell themselves this is due to their still very much present grief over the recent loss of their adult son, but still Anne cannot shake the suspicion that someone, or something, is trying to get their attention.

One night, without warning, a man and his wife appear at the door. They claim to have arrived for the sole purpose of welcoming the couple to the community, but it soon becomes clear there is something they are trying very hard to keep secret. I won’t detail their big reveal in full, but suffice to say there was once a family in the home who the town accused of doing something very bad with the corpses of fellow citizens. Once outed, the family was allegedly run out of town, but something evil remained. Now, every three decades, the home demands a sacrifice.

In order to enjoy We Are Still Here you have to take a few leaps of faith that run the gamut from small to incredibly large in size. While the premise is pretty straightforward, the explanation as to why things happen, as well as the work done to execute them, are incredibly messy. Simply knowing the house eats people is not enough, yet the film seems to believe that as long as blood is flying and screams are echoing through the halls that it has offered enough explanation for the events unfolding on screen. For some that may be true, but I believe most viewers will be unable to shake the feeling that the story is light on substance, even for a low budget horror film.

We Are Still Here’s biggest flaw is its cast, which fails to impress despite including several genre icons. Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig portray the Sacchettis, and while each does a fine job of looking simultaneously confused and frightened throughout, neither one has much, if anything else to do. You never get a sense for their relationship and how it works, nor does the script make use of the emotional burden weighing on them as a result of their son’s death. It’s mentioned, and it’s even leveraged for a scare or two, but in terms of actually developing the characters it does nothing. Likewise, the people who populate the nearby community are constantly made to appear as if they’re lying in wait for something horrific to occur, but the film provides no real argument as to why they all haven’t moved away. We’re just supposed to accept these people know about a house that possesses supernatural powers, yet they choose to remain within walking distance of the property line? Give me a break.

The one performance worth applauding comes from Larry Fessenden, who looks more like Jack Nicholson in the latter half of The Shining in this film than he has at any other point in his career. His appearance in the film is mostly used to explain a few loosely defined rules for interacting with the supernatural, as well as to add to the body count, but it’s more than enough to leave a lasting impression on the viewer. If he wasn’t already a genre regular, I would recommend more filmmakers seek him out in the future. Still, he could probably use the work.

Though it offers a surprising amount of well-executed gore and more than a handful of solid scares, it’s tough to recommend We Are Still Here to the casual movie fan. There is a lot here to love, but in order to fully appreciate it you have to completely untether from your preconceived notions of how storytelling should work. If you can overlook the gaps in logic and narrative, then you might find We Are Still Here to be something akin to a once in a lifetime experience. That said, if you’re unwilling or unable to shut off your mind for the sake of entertainment then We Are Still Here may be one of the most frustrating viewing experiences in recent memory. No matter what, proceed with caution.


Review written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell
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