This may be the most mildly pleasing month in Mildly Pleased’s history. Out of the 28 movies we’ve reviewed for this Shocktober, only a few have received more than three out of five stars, and only one has received a four-star review. Maybe that says something about Netflix. It has a lot of movies but can’t afford the best, just the average. We Are Still Here is the definition of average.
I know a lot of people will disagree with me. This film does have a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s not bad and does many things quite well. But this film never proves to me that it needed to be made. It’s a tribute to filmmakers like Lucio Fulci. But all that does is make me want to watch Lucio Fulci. Even if Fulci’s films were a mess, at least they were new and different.
We Are Still Here is appropriately set in 1979. Anne (Barbara Crampton ) and her husband Paul (Andrew Sensenig) have recently lost their son in a car accident. Distraught, they attempt to start over by moving to a new house in a snowy New England small town. Controversy surrounds the home as it was built in 1859 as a black market funeral home. What made it black market? The family was selling the bodies and burying empty caskets.
Unafraid, Anne invites her medium friends over, May (Lisa Marie) and Jacob (Larry Fessenden). The group experiences strange supernatural occurrences and finds out the house is alive and every 30 years requires a human sacrifice. The group is then haunted by the spirits of the original family, The Dagmars, and spookiness ensues.
The Dagmars scream Fulci. Their ash gray complexion and white eyes look like spirits ripped straight from The Beyond. I also like that whenever they are near the area becomes incredibly hot. There’s some great practical effects work going on here and solid scares.
What bothers me is the idea. I don’t know how you could pitch this in a single sentence and hook anyone. Clearly, it did, but it doesn’t offer anything new. There are things to admire; casting of veteran actors, the design of the ghosts, the retro setting, but those aren’t new things. Doing something well isn’t enough. There has to be a reason to do it.
So go ahead spirits, haunt me, but unless you find a new spin on it I won’t be scared.