Friday, December 11, 2015

We Are Still Here

This post title works both as identifying the movie I just watched and to let you know that I still update. I originally purchased this Blu-Ray with the intent of watching it during Halloween. Things intervened and I was unable to complete that goal. I am glad I waited however as the movie is set during the winter and a chill in the air and snow on the ground while you watch it help set the mood even more.

Of course it's 65 here and sunny but I digress.

The Sachetti's are moving into a new house in a new town in the year 1979. Their son died on the way back home from college and they think that a change of venue will do them a world of good.

They may have miscalculated that last bit.

From the moment them move in, things don't seem right around the house. Anne (played wonderfully by the talented Barbara Crampton), thinks that Bobby, their son, has moved into the house with them in spirit and that explains the strange goings on. Paul, her husband, just thinks that it's an old house with accompanying old house problems, like a furnace that turns the basement into a sweltering hellhole whenever it is on and power that flickers regularly.

It doesn't help things that the townsfolk are rather put off by the newcomers to the town and are giving them the cold shoulder, save for a man named Dave and his quiet wife Cat, who are friendly but still a little off.

Enter Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie as Jacob and May, who have a way of communing with spirits and will help reveal what exactly the presence in the house is trying to do and what dark secret the townsfolk don't want them to know.

This is a beautiful little film from first time director Ted Geoghegan. Even thought it's a period piece, it could play in any time with it's rural New England setting that I've seen many times in my trips up and down the coast. You can see the pedigree of 70s horror that runs in its veins, with a heavy nod towards the films of Lucio Fulci (House by the Cemetery in particular), though I don't think it gets as weird as some of those. It shares that dreamy quality that I recall from Let's Scare Jessica to Death but still has grounded scenes like the bar scene that bring to mind The Wicker Man, among others.

There is a slow burn to it, ramping up with the happening until all hell breaks loose in the third act, that keeps you on the edge of your seat, wondering what is going to happen to the couple and if they'll be able to make it out of the house before the previous occupants force them to stay--permanently. Of course I would be remiss if I did not mention the copious gore in the film. I should have expected it in a movie that people had described as "Fulci as fuck" but it surprised me as to how much there were. The majority of it is set in the last act but it was well worth the wait.

We Are Still Here is beautifully shot and acted and well worth seeking out if you are a fan of haunted houses and horror movies. It's nice to see a homage to the movies that I grew up with that, while steeped in the, works as its own movie and doesn't rely too heavily on your love for the past to win you over. I'm looking forward to see what else Mr. Geoghegan comes out with in the future, as this movie has definitely put him on my radar as a talent to watch.

Check it out.


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