06/04/15 9:00am
by |
06/04/2015 9:00 AM |

we are still here

We Are Still Here, which opens tomorrow at Cinema Village and on VOD, is a horror film that begins in an atmospheric mode, and ends up somewhere very different. Shot in the heart of winter, in and around a small town in far upstate New York with the right vibe for the wood-paneled, cold-linoleum 1979 setting, the film follows a middle-aged couple, grieving the sudden death of their son, as they try to start over in a house that’s been empty for 30 years. (They invite up a couple of friends, played by Larry Fessenden and Lisa Marie, to investigate its mysterious energies, after a Scotch-guzzling neighbor, played by TV vet Monte Markham, tells them about the house’s local-legendary first inhabitants, the undertaker Dagmar and his family.) With classical compositions, creepy music and strange noises in an old house, the film initially seems to be developing a storyline about haunting as a metaphor for grief (a la Babadook). By the end, we’re in a much different place, in terms of plot, tone and style. Writer-director Ted Geoghegan explains that he wanted “to pay tribute to the methodical pacing of 70s Eurohorror cinema”—the film has been compared to Lucio Fulci in particular. “Unlike the genre fare of today, viewers of that era’s films were rarely certain where a movie would end up,” he says. Indeed, the restraint of the set-up gives way to the release of the climax, which is executed, if that’s the word, as lovingly as the house’s interiors have been decorated with hi-fi sets and bottles of J&B. Geoghegan, who lives on the Upper West Side, answered a few questions of mine over email (note that the fourth question and answer are arguably spoilers).