“We Are Still Here” – Horror (Dark Sky, 2015)
In his feature debut, writer/director Ted Geoghegan manages to evoke the gloss-free, nuts-and-bolts style of American and international horror films from the ‘70s and early ‘80s and free the exercise from the limitations of pure carbon/tribute. Nothing truly unique about the premise – parents Andrew Sensenig and Barbara Crampton (of “Re-Animator” fame) relocate to a farmhouse in snowy New England to grieve the loss of their son. The house, of course, has a gruesome history, which is recanted frequently by the oddball neighbors (Monte Markham and Connie Neer) and soon demonstrated by a host of unsettling and escalating phenomena, not the least of which is the appearance of charred and very dangerous spirits. The emphasis on atmosphere and suspense is well balanced by some hellacious special effects, which should satisfy fans of European splatter; the cast, which includes cult director Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie as would-be psychics, is exceptionally game and takes the material seriously. Pacing wobbles at times, but on the whole, “We Are Still Here” plays out better than the majority of classic grindhouse tributes, and a good deal of modern horror efforts, as well. It’s currently in theaters and on VOD.