After the death of their son in a fatal car crash, Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul Sacchetti (Andrew Sensenig) move to a new house in the middle of nowhere New England. Soon they discover that they aren’t the only ones in the house, but they are the only ones living in the house. Anne, convinced their son is amongst the ghosts, enlists a psychic to investigate.
We learn from the neighbors that the house was previously owned by a man, Dagmar, who sold dead bodies and buried empty coffins. The Dagmar family was run out of town when this truth was uncovered but the family couldn’t stand the sight of Dagmar after learning what he had done, resulting in his suicide. They also drop multiple hints that the house is haunted by Dagmar and that the house “needs a family.” This leads you to believe that Dagmar needs to replace his family with those unfortunate enough to live in the house. The story is a bit more sinister than that.
We Are Still Here caught my eye with two big horror names. To start, there is Barbara Crampton, whose name sold me on the film immediately. I have been so grateful to director Adam Wingard for putting her back in the horror limelight with You’re Next as I have been a big fan of hers since childhood. She doesn’t disappoint as grieving mother Anne in this film, still remarkably badass despite her meek demeanor. Paired with her Daniel Stern look-alike husband Paul, the Sacchetti’s seem to be able to survive anything.
Then we have Lisa Marie. Tim Burton fans should immediately recognize her from Mars Attacks, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow and Planet of the Apes. Those who aren’t big Tim Burton fans may not know her at all, which they really should. She is stunningly spooky and sadly apparently overlooked for roles. I loved her as May, the spiritually sensitive friend of Anne who comes to the house to feel for spirits. Her husband Jacob (Larry Fessenden) is a really fun addition to the film with one of the best and scariest scenes.
Immediately what I loved about the film was that it was set in a normal looking house. I feel like most haunted house films focus on a dilapidated old house that some poor family moved into because it was all they could afford. Then those families are stuck in the house because they cannot afford to leave. This film doesn’t have those stereotypes. Instead, the story is fresh and original for a subgenre that has seen almost everything.
What I really enjoyed was the town’s involvement in the story of the house. There is a strange House of the Devil meets The Wicker Man conspiracy that we don’t see a lot. Most of the time, the town is too terrified of the house to even come close to it but the town in We Are Still Here fears the house almost to the point of sacrificing to it as if it were a God. This creates a conspiracy to keep the family in the house, led by the neighbor himself.
On more than one occasion, I found myself really spooked out. The ghosts appear out of nowhere, sometimes exactly when you expect them to, but the way they appear gets under your skin. It makes you want to keep looking over your shoulder out of fear that someone is standing there and jump at every small sound that is seemingly out of place. I am not accustomed to seeing ghosts carry out bloody murders either, so I was definitely thrown by this film. There are some creative and grisly deaths in this film, the end being the absolute best part of the whole film. I can’t wait to watch it again.
Pick up your copy of We Are Still Here today, available on Blu-ray and DVD from Dark Sky Films
========================================================================================================= Ann Hale is the horror editor for Pop-Break.com and a senior contributing writer, reviewing horror movies and television shows. Ann attended East Carolina University, majoring in English Literature. She is a collector of Halloween (the film) memorabilia and is a self-admitted opinionated horror nerd. You can follow her, her collection and her cat, Edward Kittyhands on Twitter and Instagram @Scarletjupiter