Moving on to the next movie was my second double movie night at Fantasia! I’m telling you, this year’s schedule accounts for a lot of my feeling super tired. These double movies are great and lots of fun but also a ton to think about afterwards. Thank goodness, this time around, I recorded the Q&A so I don’t need to strain to remember some things here and there. It doesn’t work to incorporate into my review but it does remind of things that I felt like I agreed with or not. Anyways, enough of this rambling…
The next movie was We Are Still Here. Its a directorial debut for Ted Geoghegan (who apparently is also the Director of Publicity for Fantasia Festival) and his sharing of the professed love for an era of horror movies that he feels hasn’t been done in a long time.
We Are Still Here (2015)
Director/Writer: Ted Geoghegan
Cast: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham
The year is 1979. Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) are mourning the loss of their teenage son and attempting to start over in rural New England. Before long, however, noises in the basement, falling photos, and a cryptic visit from a very strange neighbour suggest they’re not alone. Anne invites over hippie spiritualists May (Lisa Marie) and Jacob (Larry Fessenden), and things get even more alarming when it becomes apparent the locals are harbouring a secret about the house — and the horrible fate that befell its former inhabitants. Soon, a failed attempt at spiritual contact opens the doorway to a supernatural slaughter.. The spirits [..] aren’t simply content to slam doors and lurk in shadows. They’re out for blood — and get plenty, literally painting the walls crimson. – Fantasia
Coming right out of watching You’re Next, Barbara Crampton’s name was the first to pop out and I’d be lying if her appearance didn’t give me that final push (along with a very well done trailer) to grab these tickets. We Are Still Here is something special. It really is. The movie has this nice style to it that really impresses. It starts off slow in the first act. We get the layout of the house this couple moves in. We learn about our characters and what they are dealing with. There’s a good sense that we can suspect something else is lurking in the shadows. I might be overthinking this but the camera does it so that it feels like we’re watching the characters sometimes interact like someone is spying on them from around the corner or the next room. Its builds a pretty creepy atmosphere. The script even lets us learn that the house has a dark history from a long time ago. There’s not a lot of characters we deal with but each very well portrays what is needed. Especially since the cast and even crew has been part of some movies that I’ve heard about. There are a ton of really great jump scares, and I’m not using myself as the judge here but the fiance because he’s a whole lot harder to scare than I am. They were extremely effective and those spirits are awesome, chills down your back ones. I’m not going into further detail because that’ll just ruin your fun when you watch it.
I should elaborate a little on the cast since its so great in this one. Barbara Crampton is a fantastic horror actress. Its kind of funny because there are parts that her lines and expression kind of give us a little moment to laugh even in the most tense situation. The final act particularly has a few of those moments. Those moments don’t just apply to Barbara Crampton’s Anna but also all the other character’s here. Another character that does leave a mark is Jacob (played by Larry Fessenden) who does the whole hippie gig super well and then goes to be a total opposite character and grasps that perfectly as well. I’m being vague deliberately, okay? Another great actor is Monte Markham who plays the Town Leader (in a way) and does it so awkward and great. The vibe is incredible.
I’ve only touched on the first act being slow but what makes We Are Still Here great is the fact that its like a switch turns on in the second part and things go crazy. Its not that slow burner about building character anymore, it gets all blood and crazy. And that’s also when I went “huh?” in a good way because it was so genius how the plot twisted. I don’t say this often but wow. That’s really all I have to say about it. It kind of blew my mind a little.
Here’s a good spot to end this. Overall, great characters portrayed by a stellar cast, effective jump scares, building story, mind-blowing plot twist and a switch from slow to fast in a second filled with a creepy atmosphere that turns around and gets bloody and crazy in a second and my fiance might be disappointed if I don’t mention it, but his favorite is that the spirits themselves are done really well that made the scares even more effective. We Are Still Here is a great movie and one I definitely feel privileged to have seen at Fantasia Festival. I haven’t seen what this movie is supposed to be inspired by (since I’m still learning about the huge world of horror) but if you know more, you might even catch how much heart this movie has. A great effort for a directorial debut and I look forward to what else this team comes up with.
Barbara Crampton, Ted Geoghegan, Travis Stevens (Producer) Karim Hussain (Cinematographer) hosted this movie and was available for the Q&A. I would post it all up here but I haven’t quite figured out how to do that. But there is a nice trivia especially regarding one of the scenes. Here’s a picture of them…from my seat far far up in the Concordia Hall Theatre.
Seeing as this is a Canadian premiere and I have no idea where else its been released, have you seen it? Does this intrigue you? Are you interested in this 70s style horror?