Instead of the nubile young things who normally populate horror movies, a grieving middle-aged couple is at the center of Ted Geoghegan’s Seventies-evoking We Are Still Here. We meet Anne and Paul (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) after the death of their son; they’re moving into a new house and unable to connect with each other.
It’s a mature problem that seems betrayed by the genre; imagine In the Bedroom with jump-scares. Anne feels the presence of malevolent spirits and mistakes them for their son. Paul shrugs it off, deepening their rift — and then the burning ghosts in the basement start murdering people.
Early scenes overplay the shock of these phantasms, but just as you expect Geoghegan to crank up the effects, the film mixes in some subtler scares. After a couple is picked off, the house resets itself to erase any evidence they had ever been there — my skin crawled.
Anne’s spiritualist post-hippie friends (Lisa Marie and Larry Fessenden) lend color and exacerbate the haunting, particularly during a refreshingly lo-tech séance scene. Even better is Monte Markham as a neighbor who knows more than he lets on — he carries himself with such creature-feature portent that even the dread feels vintage.