We Are Still Here is a sneaky movie, starting with brooding shots of the desolate New England landscape that scream arthouse horror and ending with the bloodiest gore sequences this side of Lucio Fulci. This movie has been in my Netflix Queue for months, mostly because it stars Barbara Crampton. Full disclosure: Ms. Crampton is my favorite Scream Queen, which made me predisposed to like this movie. I still remember seeing her in Re-Animator and From Beyond, way back in the 1980’s.
Anne and Paul are a middle-aged couple whose college-age son just died in an accident. For reasons I can’t fathom they move to a house in the middle of Nowhere, New England. To escape the memories, I guess? They’re visited by a pair of locals who seem shocked they’ve been in the house for two weeks and are still alive. The locals tell them a story about the first-ever people to live in the house, a family of morticians accused of selling the bodies. According to local legend, the townspeople drove them off. Hint: take a look at the movie’s title.
Anne believes her son’s ghost has followed them because she senses a presence in the house. She’s right, sort of. There are several presences in the house, and they aren’t friendly. When the electrician comes to fix the boiler he’s attacked by one of the ghosts living in the basement. Soot black with chalk white eyes, these ghosts are literally burning up.
Anne invites a second couple, Jacob and May, to visit. May is a self-proclaimed psychic who might be able to contact the entities in the house. May’s son and his girlfriend arrive when the couples are out enjoying a wild night in town (i.e., eating at the local equivalent of Applebee’s). They get frisky on the couch, which stirs up the cinder ghosts.
It is at this point that We Are Still Here goes gonzo. The wild car ride, cold-blooded murder and disastrous séance culminating in Jacob eating a sock are only the beginning. When the locals join the party the blood and brains really start to fly, including a great scene with a knife and a sickle. Yet the movie’s center holds. The end credits are a must because they fill in a few plot holes.
I liked We Are Still Here as much as It Follows, probably the most critically acclaimed horror movie of 2015. The acting and effects are good. This is a simple story, well-told, which is why it succeeds so well.