I watched ‘We Are Still Here,’ from Dark Sky films recently. It was mediocre at best. I’d been wanting to see it as it was hyped by some as a homage to the gore and splatter of Italian master Lucio Fulci. Plus, it was produced by the same people that did ‘The House of the Devil’ and ‘Starry Eyes’ and was supposed to be a “throwback” film.
Well, suffice to say that the production company hit a home run on ‘The House of the Devil’ got a “walk” on ‘Starry Eyes’ and struck out with this film. It’s flat and loses its way towards the end. What a disappointment.
It started off great and the first act is spectacular but shortly thereafter the film starts to fall apart and you are left with a mess and one with too many questions and contradictions.
From a writing standpoint, this film seems to suffer from too many writers and not enough resolved or developed ideas. I blame the director for this and for not going to print with something more concrete. There are way too many unfinished and half-cocked ideas at play, leaving you scratching your head.
I’m not a fan of “jump scares” in horror films and their effect in this one wears off quickly. And while I enjoyed the long, ominous natures scenes here, they overdid it. This film also tries too hard to be several other films; and whether this was done on purpose is unknown. But the nods to ‘The Fog’ and ‘The Shining’ are way too obvious and even hokey after a while.
There are a ton of other influences at work here as well, so many that I started to wonder where this film was, what, with so many cliches and homages. It loses its identity rather quickly.
Don’t get me wrong, it was an an enjoyable and cheap ride but when you build something up to be as good as a Fulci film, I expect better. Much better! ‘We Are Still Here’ would do well to have a more solid foundation and stretch its own wings before stretching anyone else’s and that all starts with the writing and the director’s vision. This film did poorly with both.
Interestingly enough, when I wrote this review and published it on Tumblr, the screenwriter reached out to me. According to him, he was the only writer and the film was meant to have unanswered questions. He also pointed to the newspaper clippings at the end of the film (during the credits) as a means to fill in some of the blanks. I feel this would have been better during the opening credits.
My rating: 2.5 stars.
It’s available on Amazon for rental.