This Is Horror head of film and television Jason Hicks runs down his top five films shown at Film Four Frightfest 2015. In at number five is the Ted Geohegan directed supernatural chiller We Are Still Here.
“We Are Still Here draws on horror films of the past that Geohegan obviously loves”
Director Ted Geohegan has described We Are Still Here as a cross between something from Lucio Fulci (House By The Cemetery in particular) and M R James, and you can certainly see both of these influences written unapologetically large across this great debut.
When Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensening) move from the city to a new small town home in the hopes of a fresh start following the loss of their son in a fatal car accident, Anne becomes convinced that a supernatural presence she is feeling in their new home is in fact him. Paul is entirely incredulous to her claims however. It’s not long before some neighbours arrive at the house and gleefully recount its murky history – it seems that it was originally a funeral home owned and run by the Dagma family, who sold the bodies of the dead while burying their empty coffins. Anne and Paul are not sure how to take this news, and become even more perturbed when they are slipped a note as the neighbours leave. The note simply reads ‘Get out’.
It’s a great set up for this slow-burning haunted house story. Scares come way of the tension that is deliberately ratcheted up as the charred ghosts begin to haunt the house from a dark corner of the basement. The considered approach here certainly comes as a refreshing change when compared to the all too common crash scares that seems to have infected a large part of modern horror, and it makes We Are Still Here all that more effective for it. It’s an 80s horror ethic from Geohegan that also runs through the production, from the soundtrack across to the great cinematography from Karim Hussain (Hobo With A Shotgun).
There is humour to be had here too. While Barbara Crampton is suitably downbeat as the grieving Anne, Andrew Sensening’s Paul is altogether more humorously cynical – especially toward the hippy clairvoyant friends May (Lisa Marie) and Jacob (the fantastic Larry Fessenden) who come to stay at the house. There are some great moments among the interactions between Sensening and forever bewildered looking Fessenden, and these moments make for a great release of tension before Geohegan expertly ramps up the pace with some great moments scares and effective gore to see things to a conclusion.
We Are Still Here draws on horror films of the past that Geohegan obviously loves, and he has appropriated the essence of these films to create a debut that works with both its chills and humour. It will be interesting to see what he does next.
Director: Ted Geohegan
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden, Andrew Sensening, Lisa Marie
Release date (UK): DVD 19 October 2015
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