It has been a few days since the last Fantasia Festival film. I was tempted to add in a movie in between but decided that it was better to rest up. The last stretch after this one is going to be intense. You will see soon enough. Next up is We Go On hosted by co-director Andy Mitton and actor Jay Dunn.
We Go On (2016)
Director: Jesse Holland & Andy Mitton
Cast: Clark Freeman, Jay Dunn, Annette O’Toole, Laura Heisler, John Glover, Giovanna Zacarias
We Go On carries a great premise of defining the point where skepticism and curiosity and belief in the afterlife collide. Miles has an immaculate fear of death. It is so severe that he fears everything. In a desperate moment, he determines that the way to not be scared anymore is to find someone who can show him that there is more after death. It isn’t lights out but rather we go on. Do you not time to time, even momentarily wonder if there is more? Perhaps it is why this movie resounds even more to those who wonder. (Myself included.)
We Go On is unique because of how it sets up the story. It sets an unsettling atmosphere. At the same time, this year’s films have been about heart and detail and this one is no exception. We Go On takes the experts that Miles (played by Clark Freeman) chooses to visit with his extremely skeptical mother (played by Annette O’Toole) and leaves us pieces of clues and it all comes in use in the end. It reminds us of the details. At the same time, while it keeps us at the edge of our seat wondering if whatever exists in the afterlife does or doesn’t, it allows us time to not only breathe but laugh. Humor, drama and horror is all wrapped in We Go On.
With its few characters that revolves around our main character Miles, our focus never leaves Miles and his movements and little expressions that suggest much more. We can see his fear, doubts, and equally his hope and disappointments. Among the stellar cast, Miles’ character truly grasps the uneasy and desperate feeling. There is fear, tension and so much more.On this journey as mentioned before is his reluctant but protectively caring mother played by Annette O’Toole who captures the role perfectly and it is her that makes us laugh the most with her disbelief and sarcastic/snarky interjections. Alongside this unexpected horror duo focused on the relationship of this mother and son relationship trying to get through this is an unexpected visitor Nelson that comes into the story. He is played by Jay Dunn and he truly takes Nelson to a place where its an area of uneasy and something incredibly mysterious about this character in the beginning before diving straight into some really creepy bits.
There are a lot of aspects done right from getting good locations and a tight knit story and the pacing, despite it being slow, is still engaging. However, where this seems to fall apart a little is in its final act. The story seemed to get lost in finding its way out to wrap up this entire ordeal. The way it ended felt a little underwhelming and didn’t have quite the shock value it may have meant to have. However, any further would be entering spoiler territory.
For those who can appreciate a slow burning movie, We Go On has a lot to offer. However, this is a quiet film. One that takes the time to develop and build a connection with Miles and the few characters like his mother and his eventual “buddy”, Nelson. A lot is not in dialogue but reaction and expressions. Despite its lackluster finale, the sum of everything especially the atmosphere and the stellar performances makes up sufficiently to create a genuine and natural supernatural film filled with dread and humor.