Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
This October I decided to watch and review some of those great horror movies (31 to be exact) that I missed on their initial release. And for Part 11 of my series of the 31 OF THE BEST HORROR MOVIES YOU (MAY HAVE) MISSED we will be checking out haunted house movie We Are Still Here. Let’s get to it.
Day 11 of 31: We Are Still Here (2015)
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Starring: Andrew Sensenig, Barbara Crampton, Larry Fessenden
IMDb Trivia: Numerous characters in this film are named after characters or people associated with the Lucio Fulci film The House by the Cemetery (1981), which this film was inspired by.
Plot: In the cold, wintery fields of New England, a lonely old house wakes up every thirty years and demands a sacrifice.
Review: So I was discussing with fellow reviewer and paranormal TV uber-fan Alice how and why most of the movies I’ve been covering have been missed by a lot of genre fans. And we came to the conclusion it’s because most of these movies are slow burn stories that focus more on atmosphere than big scares. We Are Still Here starts off in a very similar vein but unlike some of the previous movies I covered, this one leaves subtlety behind around the halfway mark, grabs you by the back of the head, and dunks you into a vat of spine-chilling, gut punching, HOLY HELL ON A HOTDOG GET OUT OF THAT HOUSE PEOPLE!
The film stars scream queen Barbara Crampton as Anne and Andrew Sensenig as her husband Paul, a couple who has recently lost their young son Bobby. Paul moves them into a new home in the hopes Anne will get over her depression. But as is the case with every couple in a horror movie that moves into a new home (they should’ve hired the guys from SyFy’s SurrealEstate) they learn from an aggressively push neighbor that the house which was built in the 1800s used to be a funeral home, and the Dagmar family who ran it were run out of town when the townspeople discovered they were selling their loved-ones’ corpses and burying empty caskets. Of course these things are never as straightforward as they seem and it soon becomes apparent (violently so) to anyone unlucky enough to visit Paul and Anne’s new abode that the Dagmars never left. They are still there.
I’m just as much a fan of cerebral horror as the next guy but every now and again you need, nay want, those big bloody scenes that make sit up and say DAMN! Geoghegan smartly takes the time to develop his lead characters so we care about them and then he slams the door on subtlety. And with a huge amount of blood, gore and really fantastic practical effects he pushes the accelerator down to the ground and cuts the brake line leaving you with no choice but to hold on tight and enjoy the ride.
What truly makes the scares here effective is how well they’re built up. I honestly didn’t expect this movie to go in the direction it did so I was (happily) surprised by them. And unlike most haunted house movies this one never felt stale or predictable. I’ve never seen Lucio Fulci’s film The House by the Cemetery (which, as I mentioned, this movie is inspired by) but the influence of Fulci’s gore-filled and beautifully grotesque style of filmmaking is on full display here and I’m all for it.
We Are Still Here is the kind of movie I would show to friends without telling them anything in advance about it, and I recommend you doing the same. Avoid the trailers and jump into this one head first. As a haunted house that makes Amityville look like Disney World by comparison, this is Halloween season gold.
Sommer’s Score: 7 out of 10
You can check out Part 10 of my 31 Days List occult horror A Dark Song below together with my ranking of the Top 5 Amityville Movies.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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