is no such thing as cheap real estate in horror films. You might buy at a
bargain price today, but you will pay dearly for all eternity. The Sacchettis
are about to learn that the hard way. They are moving into their new surprisingly
affordable New England farmhouse hoping for a fresh start. Instead they are in
for a king-sized serving of supernatural terror in Ted Geoghegan’s We Are Still Here (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
Anne and Paul Sacchetti’s teenage son Bobby was killed in a car accident—and she
clearly is nowhere near over it yet. Nothing in their new environment should
remind them of Bobby, but somehow she immediately feels his presence as soon as
they move in. Paul Sacchetti is always inclined to be skeptical, but he has to
admit the infernal heat emanating from the basement is quite odd. To humor his wife,
Mr. Sacchetti agrees to host May and Jacob Lewis, the hippy dippy parents of Bobby’s
best friend over the weekend. May Lewis fancies herself a psychic, while her
husband boasts the increased sensitivity of someone who has done a lot of
this will not be their first chance to entertain company in the house. Their
nearest neighbors Dave and Cat McCabe will pop over first to explain how their
home was once the site of a rather scandalous mortuary and to generally act
squirrely and suspicious. Before long, both couples (including Paul) will
accept there is something profoundly wrong about the house.
the sake of full disclosure it should be noting we all know Ted Geoghegan through
his work as a film publicist, representing the sort of smart indie genre films
we enjoy covering. He is a cool dude, so it is a relief to know we can
enthusiastically review Still Here.
Happily, he wasn’t about to make the sort of film he wouldn’t want to work on.
In fact, he made an eerily atmospheric homage to Lucio Fulci, the Italian
Godfather of supernatural gore, who often collaborated with screenwriter
there are no radical left turns in Geoghegan’s screenplay, he puts refreshingly
inventive spins on just about every haunted house convention, including one of
the slyest and most disastrous séances you will see in a month of Black
Sabbaths. Geoghegan also notably wrote parts for grown-up adults rather than
horny teenagers, which gives the film greater heft and seasoning. It also meant
he had meaty roles for his small ensemble of fan favorites, including Barbara
Crampton (probably best loved for Stuart Gordon’s Lovecraft films), Larry
Fessenden (a presence in just about every Glass Eye Pix), Tim Burton repertory
player Lisa Marie, and Monte Markham (whom the MST3K ‘bots constantly confused with Clu Gulager during Master Ninja).
it really is something to see Crampton playing a mid-fifties mother in WASH. In the 1980s, she was a real
scream queen sex symbol for teens fatally obsessed with cult cinema.
Nevertheless, her performance as the grieving Anne Sacchetti is honest and true
enough to hold up in straight drama without any poltergeists or possessions. She
also develops some unusually mature and lived-in chemistry with Andrew Sensenig’s
Paul Sacchetti. Of course, Fessenden does his thing, which is often quite
funny, but also credibly supplies the destabilizing spark necessary for the
film to go completely nuts.
might not have a gimmicky hook, the execution is impressively skillful and
stylish throughout. The film never outstays its welcome, yet Geoghegan will
periodically take a moment, so the audience can appreciate the quiet chilliness
of the locale. Highly recommended for horror fans, We Are Still Here screens midnights this weekend (6/5-6/7) in New
York, at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Barbara Crampton, Horror Movies, Ted Geoghegan