We Are Still Here (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 21-Oct-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror / Thriller Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Audio Commentary
Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 80:17 (Case: 85)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ted Geoghegan
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Barbara Crampton
Andrew Sensenig
Lisa Marie
Larry Fessenden
Monte Markham
Susan Gibney
Michael Patrick Nicholson
Kelsea Dakota
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $24.95 Music Wojciech Golczewski


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† In the same vein as Youíre Next and House of the Devil, 2015ís We Are Still Here is a vintage-style horror movie which tips its hat to ghost movies of old, most notably Lucio Fulciís House by the Cemetery. The feature film debut for writer-director Ted Geoghegan, the movieís heart is in the right place, with the low budget rendering it a modest horror endeavour relying more on practical effects than computer-generated nonsense. However, itís not especially scary or even memorable, kneecapped by mediocre scripting and an amateurish presentation. The poster is exceptional and the movieís final act is killer, but for the most part We Are Still Here is very middle-of-the-road, and in a world where James Wan can create an insanely chilling Insidious movie for $1.5 million, this is simply not good enough.

††† Mourning the loss of their son, married couple Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig) relocate to rural New England, moving into an old house with a mysterious history. Almost immediately, Anne feels that the spirit of their deceased offspring resides in the house, though Paul is reluctant to believe in the supernatural. Hoping to make some sense out of the situation, Anne invites old friends May (Lisa Marie) and Jacob (Larry Fessenden), hoping to use Mayís skills as an amateur psychic to communicate with whatever presence surrounds them. In the process, they begin to learn about the secrets surrounding the house that the local townsfolk are hiding.

††† To accentuate the throwback vibe, We Are Still Here is set in the late 1970s, harkening back to an era before mobile phones and advanced technology, capturing a simpler time for maximum horror efficiency. Geoghegan does well enough in the filmís early stages, focusing on Anne and Paulís mundane day-to-day activities while an insidious presence is clearly lurking inside the residence. However, the movie seems perpetually stuck in first gear, with Geoghegan unable to conjure up an unsettling feeling of dread or terror. Despite a few effective horror beats, the film fails to come alive; itís in need of tauter editing and perhaps a more atmospheric score. Itís not that the movie needed jump scares, but itís too dull as is, with long stretches of nothingness that grow tedious fairly quickly. It doesnít help that the actors are so thoroughly flat - even horror veteran Crampton seems lost here. Fessenden fares better, but itís not enough to redeem the entire affair.

††† We Are Still Here at long last roars to life in its the grand finale for which all hell breaks loose. Itís wonderful work from Geoghegan and his crew, conjuring up a viciously brutal extended set-piece involving the houseís demonic occupants and the seedy locals. We Are Still Here is not a bloodless PG-13 affair, but instead a hard R, with Geoghegan revelling in the possibilities laid out by the movieís admittedly promising premise. Bodies pile up, blood is thrown around with creative abandon, heads explode, and the ghoulies look remarkably convincing, brought to life through a mix of impressive make-up and some subtle but effective digital effects. The movieís prolonged build-up is almost worth it for the climax. Almost.

††† For a first-time helmer, Geoghegan does show promise, but We Are Still Here is simply not scary, and the freshman filmmaker struggles with storytelling, pacing and character development. Despite a standout third act, We Are Still Here is a misfire, albeit a well-intentioned misfire. Itís nothing more than an 85-minute tribute to many superior haunted house features.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Itís 2015, I thought we were past this, but Accent presents We Are Still Here in 1080/50i, and is therefore imbued with the PAL speed-up which brings many issues with it beyond the fact that itís not the kind of presentation that the filmmakers would endorse. The encode is pretty poor, with noticeable banding and aliasing popping up with regrettable frequency.

††† At the very least, however, the movie is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and a few aspects of the transfer do shine. Detail and sharpness are adequate, but the detail doesnít pop like the best Blu-rays out there, though this might be attributable to the source. Colour is fine, exhibiting decent clarity, and thereís no evidence of black crush during the darker moments.

††† Casual viewers may not notice many of the issues, but as a keen videofile, I was let down. Itís serviceable, but it could have looked so much better, and a 1080/50i transfer is unforgiveable.

††† No subtitles are available, which represents another strike against the release.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† We Are Still Here fares better on the audio front, imbued with a generous English DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix that does everything well enough without being a genuine standout. Thereís also a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix available on the disc, so you can switch over to that if thatís your jam. I stuck with the lossless DTS track.

††† Without substantial budgetary backing, this track is not overly aggressive; itís more concerned with dialogue and subtle atmospherics. Chatter remains perfectly clear and refined throughout, and when the violent climax breaks out, the surround channels are put to good use. There are a few gunshots as well, which are accentuated by some nice subwoofer activity.

††† No complaints from me. This track is the best we can reasonably expect considering the source.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† Not a great deal here.

Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Ted Geoghegan and Producer Travis Stevens

††† I enjoyed this. The two men clearly have a good rapport, and speak openly about every aspect of the production, discussing influences, challenges, filming, the cast and crew, sourcing cars and props, scripting, and the characters.

Behind the Scenes (6:47)

††† A short, EPK-style featurette with B-roll footage and interviews. Not a great deal of insight is given into the production process, but itís worth watching.

Trailers

††† A handful of shorts for We Are Still Here and other Accent releases.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † The American release wins by default by way of its 1080p video presentation. Extras appear to be identical, but if you're a fan of the movie, a problematic 1080/50i presentation is no way to watch it.

Summary

††† We Are Still Here should have been better than it is, and unfortunately deserves to remain the niche curiosity that it currently is. Accent's Blu-ray release suffers from an unforgivable video encode and a lack of extras, though the audio is robust. Rent it.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

Other Reviews NONE
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