We Are Still Here (2015)

We Are Still Here first published by Little White Lies

Like many a ghost story, Ted Geoghegan’s feature debut traffics in grief, loss and the persistence of the past. Anne and Paul Sarchetti (Barbara Crampton, Andrew Sensenig) move away from the city to rural Aylesbury, New England, hoping to escape the painful memories of their adult son Bobby’s recent death – but still bringing their old photographs along with them. In this barren, wintry setting, in their new home – originally the local funeral parlour, with “history ‘n’ all” – Anne is convinced that she can still feel Bobby’s presence, and invites her New Age friends May and Jacob (Lisa Marie, cult director/producer Larry Fessenden) to come over and perform a séance.

Yet as something stirs in the overheated basement, We Are Still Here itself turns out to be no less haunted than the Sarchettis, with the spirit of Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery (1981) – and to a degree of Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods (2012) – emerging to lay claim on the present. At first burning slow and focusing closely on character, Geoghegan’s film flares up into an inferno by the end, as one family’s personal tragedy melts together with the traditions and traumas of both their new community and the genre that comes with it – and home proves to be where the hearth is. Though ultimately a bloody, gory affair, full of sinister citizenry, country conspiracies and revengeful revenants, what makes We Are Still Here stay burnt into the brain is its special brand of irrationality, not so much resolved as perpetuated in the end.

strap: In Ted Geoghehan’s Fulcian haunted house movie, a family’s sense of grief aligns with a community’s trauma.

© Anton Bitel