Movie Review: We Are Still Here, 2015

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To be honest, my interest in We Are Still Here was mostly related to Andrew Sensenig, as we had him as a guest on our podcast a while back in support of his performance in Upstream Color. And on that particular note, this movie really came through. Sensenig is a talented actor with a very interesting face, and his sense of humor really comes through in this character. He’s perfect for stuff that has this kind of slightly-off tone.

As far as low-budget horror movies go, We Are Still Here is a little less successful, but there ends up being lot to like in the end. It’s a pretty basic haunted house story, but it’s certainly a unique spin on the genre. Bringing in elements of Frankenstein and The Wicker Man, this house isn’t simply haunted, it’s in need, and the town knows it.

I don’t mind a slow burn when it comes to horror, especially when it leads to true thrills in the finale, but there’s something about the way this is structured that makes it a little tough to get through. At times, We Are Still Here feels as though it’s meandering. Ultimately it’s not, but the scenes aren’t always compelling or revealing enough to warrant my interest in them. Even when the creatures occasionally get involved, it’s never quite handled in a way that really scares or thrills me. The creature effects are actually great here, and pretty unique, but it’s not until the finale that the threat they pose becomes totally clear.

Despite everything I just said, the finale is kind of worth it. It’s way crazier than I expected it to be (in its depictions of violence, story-wise it’s right in line with what you expect) and a ton of fun to watch. I wish the whole movie had the tone of the ending, or at least that it built to that ending in a way that made it truly satisfying. As it stands, it’s just purely nuts and highly entertaining on that level alone. There’s a movie here that carries a little more weight than this that might make that finale resonate beyond its insanity and become a truly cathartic experience for the characters and the audience alike. Unfortunately this misses that mark, just by a bit.

It feels like this wanted to be Babadook levels of emotionally resonate, but only manages to be House of the Devil levels of creepy, and with less style unfortunately. We Are Still Here is certainly a worthwhile entry in the genre, but this one just didn’t dig its hooks into me like the best of horror can.

We Are Still Here scored: ★★★ (out of 5)

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