Thursday, February 18, 2016

Phil's Horror Watch: WE ARE STILL HERE (2015) from Dark Sky Films-February 18, 2016

WE ARE STILL HERE Blu-Ray (2015)
Starring: Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig, Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham, Susan Gibney
Written by Ted Geoghegan
Cinematography by Karim Hussain
Edited by Aaron Crozier & Josh Ethier
Produced by Travis Stevens
Directed by Ted Geoghegan
Production Company: Snowfort Pictures
Distributed by Dark Sky Films

Within the horror genre, there are many different subgenres that cater to a horror fan's taste. Recently, the supernatural theme has been very popular among fans and at the boxoffice. With the films THE CONJURING and INSIDEOUS, it seems like the classic ghost story is once again back in style. Recently, Dark Sky Films released one of the best supernatural films of 2015 that I finally got around to see. Like DEATHGASM, this film also made its way into several Top 10 lists from horror websites and publications. Needless to say, WE ARE STILL HERE is another sensational smash from the independent film distributor.

The film's official synopsis: After their teenage son is killed in a car crash, Paul (Andrew Sensenig) and Anne (Barbara Crampton) move to the quiet New York countryside to try to start a new life for themselves. But the grieving couple unknowingly becomes the prey of a family of vengeful spirits that reside in their new home, and before long they discover that the seemingly peaceful town they've moved into is hiding a terrifyingly dark secret. Now they must find a way to overcome their sorrow and fight back against both the living and dead as the malicious ghosts threaten to pull their souls - and the soul of their lost son - into hell with them.

Festival Movie Poster (2015)
Writer/Director Ted Geoghegan did a fantastic job crafting a film that made my skin scrawl. There a couple of factors about the film I really enjoyed. The first being is that it's a slow burn; meaning it takes its time and the scares and tension slowly builds up towards this explosive climax that'll make scream with fright. Most horror films lack this element and just go straight to the scares, which fine but nowadays that's all most horror films are. They lack the peaks and valleys that were commonly found in the older horror films. Thanks to Geoghegan's genius script, it moves us closer and closer to the edge of our seats and we wait with anticipation for the next scare to frighten us.

Second, it's a period piece. The film takes place sometime in the 1970's, which was when these kinds of films were made. Movies like THE EXORCIST, THE OMEN and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR terrified audience during this time and influenced many of today's filmmakers in the horror genre. Now I have a big soft sport for 70's horror films. Reason being is that at this time the new Motion Pictures Rating System came to effect and soon many directors like Wes Craven, William Friedkin, Tobe Hooper, Larry Cohen, John Carpenter, Brian DePalma and George Romero were pushing the envelope regarding to on-screen violence, gore, suspense, sex and nudity combined with social and political commentary.

Third is Geoghegan's style of directing which is really quite simple and very effective. Normally directors will try to get experimental with their set-ups and angles and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. But sometimes it can be a distraction and could take the audience out of the movie. This is not the case here and Geoghegan does a superb job of terrifying us with the simplest cinema techniques like creaking sounds and subtle camera tricks that sends chills running up and down your spine.

The acting in the film is fantastic and all deserve a huge round of applause. However I would like to single out the beautiful and talented actress Barbara Crampton. She has been a favorite with genre fans since she portrayed Megan Halsey in the 1985 Empire Film RE-ANIMATOR. Crampton has gone one to act in other noteworthy horror films like FROM BEYOND, CHOPPING MALL,TRANCERS II, CASTLE FREAK and LORDS OF SALEM. To most mainstream fans she's best know for playing Leanna Randolph from the television soap opera The Young and the Restless. In this film she's plays grieving mother Anne Sacchetti and does a phenomenal job of bringing her to life. The emotional roller coaster Anne goes through is substantially trying on her. The loss of her son, trying to rebuild her life, emotionally detached from everything and surviving the horrifying paranormal threat that wants to kill her and her husband. This legendary acting icon is able to visually express all of these different ranges of emotions and then some. Truly an underrated actress, Crampton gives a tour-de-force performance that rivals any of those so-called Hollywood actress!!

WE ARE STILL HERE is easily one of the best horror films that you will ever see! With a solid script, outstanding acting and stunning directing, any horror aficionado would welcome seeing this astounding work of art!! 5 out of 5 stars!! Highly recommended!!

WE ARE STILL HERE is currently available on Blu-Ray and DVD. Visit your local retailer or order directly from Dark Sky Films. To learn more about Dark Sky Films and their upcoming film releases, visit their website at You can also follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

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