SFF Review: We Are Still Here, a sacrifice must be made

You know what the haunted house genre has been missing all these years? Ted Geoghegan. Marking his feature film debut, We Are Still Here is a ghostly tale of vengeful spirits and dark secrets, all of which are wrapped up in a lonely old home buried under a blanket of snow. Bound in a wintery atmosphere, We Are Still Here brings new ideas to the oldest of tales, delivering a blood-boiling slice of apparitional haunts. In it, Paul and Anne move to the quiet New England countryside to try to start a new life for themselves after the death of their son. Their new home, however, wakes up every thirty years demanding a sacrifice, threatening to pull their souls into hell with them.

While the film itself is rooted in a classical sort of elegance, it’s far from an homage—instead, We Are Still Here is an entirely unique breed of horror, and it’s one that happens to look like a lost gem from the ’70s. Geoghegan masterfully blends modern thinking with the unique stylistic grace and often ridiculousness of classic genre films, creating a particularly haunting haunted house film with a voice of its very own and an exceptionally bloody bite.

And because this is a film of the spooky variety, Geoghegan wastes no time putting the audience exactly where he wants them—inside his snow-swept house harnessing evil spirits. The chilly atmosphere creates this wonderfully hair-raising tension as we start to see this charming old home come to life one bump in the night at a time—and then the fun begins.

At first, We Are Still Here takes a simmering approach to its terror, really allowing the film’s narrative to sink in; its early moments will have the skin crawling right off your bones as it pulls on the strings of your nerves. And once you think you know what you’re in for, it takes a hellish turn, delivering a nasty mix of possessed souls and blood-hungry spirits. But there’s much more than just vengeful spirits at the heart of all this evil—a nice little surprise that’s best left to discover on your own—and it’s one that adds a terrific layer to an already great film.

It’s a gnarly addition to the storied haunted house genre, and it’s one that feels both new and old because of its surprising story elements wrapped up in a classic aesthetic. It hits its groove quickly and early, throwing unending brutality at the screen before you even have time to settle in. But even more than that, We Are Still Here is a bloody blast and a sure to be classic of its own, asking us to laugh at the ridiculous and embrace the unexpected. It’s a horror film for horror fans, everyone else just needs to bring an extra pair of pants.

4/5

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If you are ever attacked by a gorilla just sit back and relax while you enjoy the once in a life time feeling of your limbs being ripped off.

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