‘They say he was no more than a shell of a man at the end…’

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In one respect a house is just brick and mortar, nothing more, nothing less. But in reality a house can be so much more than that. For those of us that live in old houses it is odd to think of all the families that have inhabited the same space as us over the years. Even more strange is the fact that for one family, many years ago, they were the first family to live in your house. It was their home. So in that respect is it ever really yours? Or does it belong to those who owned it first. Those who lived a full life. Those that died…

Many horror films play on this fear and the haunted house trope is as old as time. Films such as Paranormal Activity, Insidious and Sinister show that not only does this type of ghost story survive but that it still thrives. We Are Still Here falls firmly within the boundaries of a standard haunted house tale whilst offering something a little different.

A married couple move into an old house in the middle of nowhere to try and escape the grief they feel for their dead son. To use traditional horror movie parlance for a second, the house is not what it seems… So far, so normal. We have early shots of photo frames falling down and doors closing by themselves, something that even the most casual horror fan is familiar with. From there though, We Are Still Here takes a radical and unexpected turn. Horror films in 2016 turn to be slow burning, subtle and tense. People like jumpscares in the dark punctuated by little movement in the day. I can’t think of a modern day equivalent for something like Hellraiser for example, a film that sees hideous demons very much out in the open. Well, We Are Still Here is a throwback to those more in your face horror films and whilst this is refreshing, it is also quite jarring and when director Ted Geoghegan gets something wrong, it really clangs.

Having said that, We Are Still Here successfully creates an atmosphere that I found really quite distressing. It is more off beat and weird than your average run of the mill horror. It also tries to cram far too much into a skinny 84 minute running time and the film suffers as a result of this, especially by the time the fucking bonkers ending rolls around.

Ted Geoghegan has made a horror film that feels like a misfit in this day and age but it is different enough and interesting enough to deserve credit. Most importantly, there were times during We Are Still Here when I genuinely felt scared. There is no greater praise for a horror film than that…