Tuesday, October 11, 2016

30 Days of Nightmares #11: WE ARE STILL HERE (2015)

The Story: A middle-aged couple that recently lost their son (really, another dead kid movie?) moves into a haunted house.  Shit happens.

Expectations: An above-average ghost story.  I love that poster.

Reaction: For the first 40 minutes or so, this is an average ghost story meandering its way down a checklist of ghost story tropes.  Cold drafts and eerie noises: check.  Creepy basement: check.  (This one looks like the inside of a dinosaur carcass.)  Gossipy neighbors sharing horrific local legends: check.  Superstitious and slightly hysterical leading lady jumping at shadows: check.  (She insists that her new house has “a strange aura.”)  There’s even a scene where a child’s baseball inexplicably rolls down a set of stairs.  Thanks, I’ve already seen THE CHANGELING…. And in that movie, the baseball was a story point.  Here, not so much.  This was all so familiar that I didn't care enough to try and suspend my disbelief.

Then, around the 40 minute mark, WE ARE STILL HERE shifts into second gear.  Once we see for ourselves what’s in that creepy basement, things get pretty wild.  Remember EYES OF FIRE?  No?  Neither does anyone else, so I’m going to move on….

One of the supporting characters explains what we’re dealing with: “The Darkness under the house wakes up every 30 years, like clockwork.  If it doesn’t get a new family this time, it’s gonna swallow this town.”  Well, okay, now I’m paying attention.

With about 20 minutes to go, the film shifts into third gear and proceeds to ride right off the rails.  Larry Fessenden, playing a hippie psychic, conducts a séance and conjures something that’s sort of shocking and sort of hilarious and really, really messy.  The batshit crazy climax didn’t quite win me over, but it certainly kept my attention.  At the very least I must say I haven't seen a haunted house movie like this one before.

Most Nightmare-Worthy Moment: EYES OF FIRE in the back seat genuinely surprised me.  I think that’s the turning point in the movie—when people will either give up or get excited about what's to come.


  1. It follows Fulci style narrative, which was totally intentional by the filmmaker.

    1. I'd have to say it's remarkably coherent for a Fulci movie.