Star Rating: 1 out of 5
Continuing with the horror film trend I’ve set up for myself (it is October after all), I decided to watch We Are Still Here, a movie that was on several lists of the top 10 horror movies in 2015. I had watched one trailer for the movie and decided I should avoid any spoilers for the film, including other trailers and even the synopsis. Going into this film blind helped bring a certain level of excitement and anticipation to the watching experience. Five minutes in and my heart was already starting to pound out of my chest. Little did I know that was the best scare I was going to get for the entire film.
We Are Still Here tells the story of Anne and Paul Sacchetti (played by Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensing) and their move to the New England countryside after the death of their son. When Anne feels the presence of their dead son lingering throughout the house she invites her friends May and Jacob Lewis (Lisa Marie and Larry Fessenden) to determine whether it is their son or not. What May and Jacob discover is haunting the house is far more shocking…kinda.
Sadly, there are few positives about this film. The acting is on par with what you’d find on a day time soap opera. The actors sound emotionless when delivering their lines. In fact, probably the most enthusiastic person in the movie is the electrician and he is in the film for roughly three minutes. There is nothing unique or compelling about any of the characters. In this continual bombardment of cliches, each of the characters is a two-dimensional outline for every character in any other ghost story horror film. Anne is the one pining for contact after the death of a loved one, Paul reminds everyone of how skeptical he is of the supernatural, May is the designated psychic, and Jacob is supposed to be the comedic relief. You also have your pick of the horny teenagers who die first, and the creepy townsperson who obviously has a secret agenda. The dialogue in this film was so poorly written it had me wondering whether or not the director was a native english speaker. Some of the lines sounded like a foreign director making his first english speaking film.
The scariest moments come in the first twenty minutes of the film. During this time the ghosts are visible, but lurk in the background in order to create that unsettling anticipatory feeling in your gut. Once the electrician goes into the basement, you know things are about to get intense. Every second he works is a second longer you have to wait for the ghosts to do something terrible to him. But, that moment never comes. The electrician is beckoned deeper into the parts of the basement without lights, which provides a dark and uncomfortable atmosphere and just when you think the camera will cut away to let your imagination decide what happened to him, the director gets tired of hiding the ghosts and gives you a full frontal view of this fire burned family that is the furthest thing from scary. If I had known the scariest part of this movie would be the trailer and my imagination, I probably would not have watched it.
Apart from the acting, the plot was also a twisted mess of terrible. At first its about this couple moving into an obviously haunted house, but then the neighbor conveniently shows up to provide some exposition to fill the audience in on what is going on. Later, we discover that the neighbor wasn’t being entirely forthcoming and now the townspeople want the ghosts in the house to murder the family because of a not-so-ancient curse. This then leads to the townspeople marching on the house to murder Anne, Paul, May, and Jacob. What ensues is a mess of townspeople and ghosts burning and murdering each other to the point of leaving Anne and Paul alive. Nothing about the fight is logical. The townspeople claim they need a family to die in the house, and yet they give the house a very short period to kill them. If the family is supposed to be a sacrifice to the house, then let the house take them. What good will it be if the townspeople kill them? Even the ghosts are illogical. The beginning of the movie takes time to show that the ghosts kill people by burning them, and yet during this massive fight, a gore fest ensues.
We Are Still Here is an odd film. It carries a 95% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes which is high enough to give it the “Certified Fresh” stamp of approval, and yet it was easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The director prematurely revealed the ghosts, the story had no originality, and by the time it ends you realize how much of your life was wasted and are thankful your parents still pay for your Netflix subscription.