The winter wind blows through the bare branches of the trees and down the empty roads as Anne and Paul Sacchetti retreat to an isolated farmhouse in a remote part of New England to recover from the death of their son in a car accident two months before. Both are reserved, but the grief hangs heavier on Anne, alone even when her stoic husband is beside her, coping silently.
Drawn to the basement of the house from where she hears a knocking, she finds a baseball mitt with the name Bobby on it; reading significance into the objects around her, she comes to believe that his presence has followed them to their retreat. “I can feel him here. I can feel Bobby, in this house.”
But the Dagmar house has a history as recounted by local resident Dave McCabe who doorstops them one evening along with his timid wife Cat, stepping in just long enough to tell them horrible stories of the family who built it as a funeral parlour in 1859 but were run out of town when rumours started that they were selling the bodies, patriarch Lassander Dagmar drinking himself to death a year later, before running back out into the night.
Inviting their friends May and Jacob Lewis to stay, Anne hopes that they will be able to contact the spirit of Bobby but Paul remains sceptical, unconvinced their supposed powers are anything more than nonsense, that the heat rising from the basement is anything more than a fault with the boiler…
With much of the setup notably derivate of Peter Medak’s The Changeling – opening scenes set in the snow, the loss of a child in a car accident, the knocking within the walls, the rolling ball, the significance of the séance – it plays like a low-key version of that masterpiece while the appearance of the Dagmar family is overly indebted to the crew of the Elizabeth Dane of The Fog, though impressively realised.
While the ideas are good if unoriginal the film lacks coherence, with the exposition unceremoniously dumped on the screen half way through and a flat execution which fails to generate atmosphere, the minimal soundtrack leaving the mood as empty as the Sacchetti’s homestead.
Where it is more successful is in the performances, horror veterans Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond, You’re Next, The Lords of Salem) as the brittle but resolute Anne, Larry Fessenden (Stake Land, Jug Face, Late Phases, The ABCs of Death 2) as the laid back Jacob and particularly Monte Markham, a performer with a near fifty year career in film and television as the sinister Dave McCabe.
Written and directed by Ted Geoghegan, We Are Still Here is very much a film of two halves, or rather three quarters and one quarter, where after an hour of foreshadowing leading up to the genuinely unsettling séance it finally kicks off into a higher gear than what has gone before would suggest possible, clever framing sometimes getting the best out of the effects, but the overall feels is of wasted potential rather than a satisfying whole.