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We Are Still Here (Blu-ray Review)

We-Are-Still-HereA tragic death leaves a married couple devastated, but their misery soon turns into mortal fear in the thoroughly haunting new film WE ARE STILL HERE. The Dark Sky Films/MPI theatrical release, from the producers of The House of the Devil and Cheap Thrills, comes to Blu-ray and DVD on October 6, 2015.   The cast of the MPI/Dark Sky Films theatrical release includes horror icon Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, You’re Next), Andrew Sensenig (Upstream Color, The Last Exorcism Part II), actor-filmmaker Larry Fessenden (Wendigo, Stake Land, You’re Next)and Lisa Marie (Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood). The film marks the directorial debut of Ted Geoghegan, writer of Indie horror favorites Sweatshop and Barricade, a producer of the anthology film The ABCs of Death 2. The atmospheric cinematography is by Karim Hussain (Antiviral, Hobo With a Shotgun). Features on the discs include a Behind the Scenes look featuring writer/director Ted Geoghegan and producer Travis Stevens discussing the genesis of the project and the challenges and successes of bringing the script to life.

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Film 

After their teenage son Bobby is killed in a car crash, Paul and Anne Sacchetti move to an isolated 19th-century house in the New England countryside to try to start a new life. But soon the grieving couple begin to sense they are not alone in the old house. The Sacchettis’ psychic friend May arrives to investigate Anne’s hopeful feeling that Bobby’s spirit is also there.
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Unknowingly, the Sacchettis become the prey of a family of vengeful spirits that reside in their new home, and before long they discover that the seemingly peaceful town is hiding a terrifyingly dark secret. Now they must find a way to overcome their sorrow and fight back against both the living and dead as the malicious ghosts threaten to pull their souls – and the soul of their lost son – into hell with them.
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We Are Still Here is the directorial debut of Ted Geoghegan.  I don’t know much about him aside from the fact he was the a publicist for a film I loved called Cheap Thrills from a year or two ago.  Geoghegan shows a lot of promise with his first film in terms of patience, atmosphere and the resistance to waste any of the film on cheap scares and jumps.  He crafts a film about middle aged people that plays and works there and doesn’t want to pander to a younger, “hipper” audience for the sake of doing so.
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While I can commend the patience and such of the film, for as short of film as it is, the time did feel like it slowed up for me.  There are many great slow-burn sequences with cool little spooky payoffs, but all in all, the film is a bit too quiet.  Though, it does prove to be worth it in the 3rd act where things really kick into gear and get crazy.  Definitely check this one out horror fans, its got a lot of praise (94% on RT).  I’m not as big on it (but I think its going to keep growing on me.  I watched it twice and was much bigger on it the 2nd time), but I think it does do fine and is well crafted and definitely worth checking out.
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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  The aesthetic of the film gives an overall cool look.  The image is nice, sharp and pretty strong.  Detail on textures on walls, flooring, wood and clothing fabric shows everything from patterns to threads to blemishes, to aging.

Depth:  This is an above average transfer with its dimensions.  There are some good moments between characters and people and objects that give a good sense of spacing and looseness.  Movements are very smooth with no blur.

Black Levels:  Blacks are nice and inky.  No crushing witness and no detail appears to be hidden.  Shading is this transfer’s strong suit.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are very bold in appearance.  This isn’t a vibrant film, but its browns and such are strong any sort of more vivid colors do look appealing when present.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones take on a cold appearance for the duration of the film.  Detail is high on make-up, wrinkles, dimples, stubble and other facial features.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 LPCM

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  This is a very very quiet movie, focusing mostly on dialogue.  There are some eeries sounds and creeks and cracks that do sound nice an delicious in this mix.  Vocals are captured very well, picking up every bit of a breath with the words spoken.  The movie isn’t some audio powerhouse, but this track represents it very well.

Low Frequency Extension:  The LFE isn’t really a factor, but does step up with some jump scares, doors shutting and picks up intensity in the finale.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This one is a little trickster, placing sounds randomly at times around the room through the five channels.  Its a quiet feature, but the back speakers do spit out some ambiance while the front speakers place volumes accurately and precisely moves back and forth.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is crisp and clean.  Its a hair low, but that’s likely to make way for jump scares with louder effects.

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Extras 

Audio Commentary

  • With Writer-Director Ted Geoghegan & Producer Travis Stevens

Behind the Scenes (HD, 7:04) – A little EPK friendly interview the director and producer that includes some on-set footage.

Trailer (HD, 1:35) 

Teaser (HD, 1:39) 

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Summary 

We Are Still Here is a very slow burner of a film, placing emphasis on background elements and working on its character interaction and depth above most else.  Barbara Crampton gives a terrific turn here.  This Blu-ray also has a terrific turn in the video and audio presentations, but is merely decent when it comes to extras.  This Halloween season, if you’re looking for a new, modern ghost story to check out for the spooks, you should at least rent this one to help fulfill that ghoulish desire.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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