“We Are Still Here” begins with a married couple moving to a creepy old house and immediately — I mean immediately — noticing strange phenomena. The fact that the disturbances begin even before the title appears, coupled with the give-away nature of that title, suggests that writer-director Ted Geoghegan has something more than the usual haunted-house tropes up his sleeve. At least, we hope he does. Otherwise we’re in for a long, predictable 84 minutes.
Thankfully, “We Are Still Here” does have more to offer than flickering lights and grudge-bearing ghosts. A fun throwback to the intense, free-wheeling, semi-cheesy horror flicks of the ’70s and ’80s, Geoghegan’s story expands to include not just the creepy old house but the entire creepy old town. (Do you love movies about towns with dark secrets? ME TOO.) The married couple, Anne (Barbara Crampton) and Paul (Andrew Sensenig), have moved to snowy New England to escape their grief after the death of their son. Problem is, there seem to be spirits here — and Anne thinks her dead boy is among them. A visit from local old-timer Dave McCabe (Monte Markham), who describes the house’s grim history, lends credence to the idea that something supernatural is afoot.
Things really pick up when Anne and Paul’s friends come for the weekend. May (Lisa Marie) is a spiritualist who wants to conduct a seance; her husband, Jacob (Larry Fessenden), is a good-natured hippie along for the ride. Paul is skeptical of Anne’s fears at first, but there comes a time — always a very satisfying moment in these movies — when, at last, everyone is on the same page. All that remains then is to determine the source and defeat it, which in this case leads to a raucous and bloody finale.
“We Are Still Here” offers a few good scares and some moments of high tension, lightened by a tongue-in-cheek attitude that stops short of being self-aware. (Markham’s performance as Dave McCabe is the one that feels like maybe his character is more meta than everyone else’s.) Barbara Crampton, a scream queen from ’80s flicks like “Re-Animator” and “Chopping Mall,” provides a graceful (and fierce) center for this one. No matter what mayhem ensues, she remains a loving mother who misses her son.
B (1 hr., 24 min.; )