We Are Still Here

We Are Still Here

We were definitely split on this unique throwback to those old Italian giallo horrors of the 70’s. Shout out tho’ to Todd’s main man, Lucio Fulci!

we are still here poster
Expand to read episode transcript
Automatic Transcript

We Are Still Here (2015)

Episode 40, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd:  Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: I’m Craig.

Todd: And today’s film was We Are Still Here. Craig, you chose this film. What was what were you thinking?

Craig:  Well, I’ll be honest with you. It’s kinda been, a long week for me, busy week. And, I was looking through our list that, we’ve kinda put together. And, I’ve heard some stuff about this movie just a little bit, but really the selling point for me was that it was short. It was only about an hour and 25 minutes long, and so, I thought we’d we’d we’d give it a go.

Todd:  That’s great. What did you heard about it?

Craig:  Not a whole lot. You know, I remember seeing, some articles, I think, on Bloody Disgusting or something like that, around the time when it came out or when it was coming out. And the articles didn’t have a whole lot to say. And now having seen the movie, I’m kinda glad, because I feel like if they had talked about it too much or given too much away, that wouldn’t have been a good thing. But, I saw generally positive, reviews. And so I was intrigued, and intrigued by the fact that I really didn’t know much about it at all. So I figured we’d give it a go.

Todd:  You know, it’s nice every once in a while to just pop into a movie when you haven’t seen a preview, you haven’t really read about it, just the way we used to watch movies. Right. Right. With minimal information, and and in this case, not even any anticipation. I’d never heard of it before, but it did come out last year, and I guess it was a big hit at the 2015 South by Southwest Film Festival. Critically received well. Apparently, it’s commercially done well Todd, and writer director whose name I will probably mispronounce, but it’s, what is it, Ted Gyogegen? I guess he’s written a bunch of other stuff. Since 2001 he’s been writing almost a movie a year, but this is maybe one of his few, director credits.  I think he’s only done International Playboy’s first movie, Ghouls Gone Wild, back in 2004. But he’s working on a big movie now called Mohawk, that’s gonna be coming out in another year, based on, I guess, the the momentum, behind this film. You know, I, jumped into it, obviously not knowing anything about it. It is about, starts out with a couple, Annie and Paul. Right? Mhmm. Yeah. And they’re driving through the wintery day. They’re obviously kind of quiet and depressed.  They’re about middle aged. At least they seem to be about middle aged. Right. And, they’re not talking much, but you get the sense that they’re moving and there we find out later that they’ve moved from the big city, to this small house out in the middle of nowhere near this tiny town to get away from the tragedy of their son’s death.

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  And I guess their son was probably in about in his twenties it looks like or maybe late teens, when he died and died in a car accident. And so, that’s where they’re going. And you know, at first, I got the impression that they were returning to, like, a previous home. I don’t know if you got that sense. At least, I found the movie a little hard to follow at times, and that was the first thing that, I couldn’t quite figure out until about, oh, about 20 minutes in when I realized, no, they’d never lived in this house before.

Craig:  Right. Yeah. I I was a little confused too and I think part of that comes from the some of the dialogue, is is pretty quiet and I had to pause and rewind to hear what people had said a couple of times. And there were a couple of times, when I did that, and I still was uncertain. In the beginning, like you said, it’s really it’s quiet. You know, there’s not a lot of talking going on between the 2. It’s more just kind of, atmospheric, and you get the sense that, there’s there’s sadness, you know, going on. And, I think, Paul, at some point says, he says something about having had somebody set up the house for them.  So everything’s gonna be ready for them when they get there. And and Annie asks you, well, how will they know where to put the pictures? And he says, well, I told them. And having read the one sentence blurb on IMDB, I knew that they were moving to this new house. So, I wasn’t quite yet lost there. But you mentioned, that they’re they’re moving after this tragedy of having lost their son. And you get that impression very early on, because as soon as they get there, they’re kinda setting up the house. You get a little brief montage of them. You know, it’s it’s mostly set up for them, but, Annie’s going around kind of, putting up some pictures and things, and she puts up a picture of a young man, who I presumed was their son.  And then, after that, she starts going through a box of what presumably are are his things. You know, it’s like old trophies and, baseball stuff. And, so, yeah, that was the sense I got. We really don’t find out until, I would say, at least halfway through the movie. Well, maybe not that far, but a good ways into the movie. It takes until we find out what actually happened to him. But it is established pretty early on that, he has died. And so, yeah.  So they so they get into the to the house.

Todd:  And, and there’s I would say one of the really good points of this movie is it did a really good job of setting up a feeling of dread and also a bit of tension. I think, you know you’re going to a horror film, and, the instant she puts the son’s picture up, kind of on a table, there’s this moment where they’re watching television and the camera slowly pans over and that that, picture falls forward on of its own accord.

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  And so you immediately are set up for, okay, this is gonna be kind of a haunted house story or something about the dead the dead spirit of the sun. And right away, she feels like there’s a presence in the house and there are weird noises when she’s setting up a lot of times when she’s alone. And so she kind of goes exploring, she goes down into the basement, which for this house is the biggest basement with so many rooms. Right. But, yeah, and of course, that’s really creepy. And I have to say, I was on the edge of my seat for most of that, kind of wondering what was going to happen. But then, I guess, what set up my confusion and made me wonder if they hadn’t returned to this house is she’s poking around and you get the sense that she that maybe it’s the spirit of Bobby who is haunting them. When she goes in the basement and shines her flashlight around, maybe there’s an apparition, maybe there’s not, but there’s definitely movement down there, and she shines it down on the ground at some point and there is a baseball glove with the name Bobby written across it.  Right. Now, were we supposed to assume that was a coincidence? Were we supposed to assume that was something maybe she just thought she saw, Or that they had had some things unpacked and some people had tossed that in the basement?

Craig:  I think the way that I read it was that, you know, one of the things that I liked about the movie was that it jumped right in. You know, it really was kind of a slow burn for the first half, but, the creepy strange stuff starts happening right away. Like you said, the picture frame falls over right away. That’s probably in the first 5 minutes. And then when she’s unpacking that box, she hears something down in the basement, and that’s what leads her down there. And and like you said, you know, it’s it’s dark. It’s shadowy. You can’t really see what’s going on.  But she finds that, baseball glove. My the way that I read it was that whatever was going on in the house, whatever was tipping over pictures and and whatnot, somehow got that glove down there. Because what she was looking through was a you know, right when this happened, when she started hearing things in the basement, what she was doing was she was looking through that box of baseball

Todd:  stuff. Yeah.

Craig:  And then, when she’s down there, after she finds the glove, then the baseball, which she had just had in her hands in the box upstairs, comes rolling down, the stairs. So, obviously, something in the house is moving things around, and that’s the impression I got. And from that, the impression that she gets is that the spirit of their son is with them, has followed them to the house. And that’s that’s really the premise that she is working under for all of the movie really. She, you know, so believes Bobby’s there. So you think

Todd:  that kind of explains why she doesn’t get suitably freaked out at all this stuff? I think so.

Craig:  Yeah. And I think, you know, that’s I these actors, in the movie, Anne is paid by played by Barbara, Crampton, who I kind of recognized, but, you know it was just kind of a vague familiarity. And when I after the movie was over and I I kind of looked up some information about it, I saw that, you know, she was in Re Animator. She played the mom in You’re Next, and then the dad, Paul, I’ll probably mispronounce his name, but it’s, Andrew Sensenig. And he looked familiar. I couldn’t recognize him for anything. I I looked at his IMDB credits and he’s got 99 acting credits. So obviously this is a guy that’s been working a lot, but nothing jumped out to me, as being familiar as something that I’d seen him in.  No. But but they both, and and other actors that come in later, they’re very low key. It’s it’s very downplayed. I I don’t think that it’s poor acting at all. Quite the opposite, I think that it’s good acting, but it’s very subtle and it feels very real. So sometimes it’s difficult to read them, and then at other times I feel like you don’t wanna try to read too much into it. You just kinda wanna, you know, this is a woman who’s lost her son, and she’s having these strange occurrences that lead her to believe that her son’s spirit is there, and she’s embracing that. You know, she’s not scared.  She’s a little unsettled, but I think at the same time, she’s kind of hoping that it’s him. You know, she doesn’t wanna let go. And so less than being scared, it’s almost more like she’s excited or or finding comfort in the fact that he may still be with them in some way.

Todd:  Yeah, I think in retrospect, I can get behind that. It kind of confused me at the beginning because I felt like, and maybe this is just me, but I feel like about any supernatural circumstance is going to be something that’s gonna freak you out more than it’s gonna give you comfort. But I suppose if you think it’s your dead sun, then maybe you do feel pretty good about it, or at least it’s gonna help you while you’re in that grieving moment that they’re clearly in. And that is definitely, obvious. Yeah. She, worse than her husband. Now, I thought her acting oh, by the way, I don’t know if you recognized her from Chopping Mall either, but she was Susie in Chopping Mall.

Craig:  Oh, really? No. I didn’t. That’s funny.

Todd:  Chopping Mall keeps coming back to haunt us. I That’s alright. So it’s like the Kevin Bacon of, of movies. That’s hilarious. But, yeah, it’s I don’t know. You know, I have to say I thought her acting was the best. I felt like a lot of the other acting was pretty uneven. Maybe I blame the writing Todd.  I I know this film has been critically received, but I have to be honest. I felt like the it was like a a paint by numbers script. I just thought there were too many cliches, as it went through. I mean, you get the the haunted house set up and then you get them talking about their dead son, and then immediately, I think the next thing that happens is, they get a visit.

Clip:  Yeah. They

Todd:  get a visit from 2 people, Dave and Kat, an older man and his wife. And, of course, it’s, oh, we’re the neighbors, and, oh, you haven’t been over, you know, you’re the first neighbor people have been over to visit us in 2 weeks since we’ve come to the town. And he’s all like, oh, that’s kinda strange. You you know, you’d think the town would be hopping because you’re moving into this place. And then they come into the house and are very unsettled by it, and they immediately dive into the story of the house.

Clip:  So the the realtor told you all about the daggers.  Yes. That was the family. Thank you. Who first left here. Right?  Yes. Yes. That’s right. I mean, the town built this house for them back in 18/59. Wasn’t long after that that the the trouble began. Old Dagmar had been running the bar no more in a couple months when, for wouldn’t you know, word got out that, they were shun on the bodies and bury in empty coffins. People were saying he was selling the corpses to the university over in Essex County. Some even said he was selling the Orientals over in Boston, turning them into chop suey.

Todd:  And then he says, well, you know, I guess I I shouldn’t dive into devils right away. We’ll be seeing you. Right. And walks out

Craig:  saying, you know, there’s definitely some really super formulaic writing, you know, with the neighbors showing up. And, you know, the the husband is kind of seemingly normal, Dave, but then when juxtaposed against his wife, who there’s clearly something off with, Like, she seems really unsettled. She seems very nervous. Like, she doesn’t talk very much, and when she does talk, she kind of only talks her husband in kind of hushed tones, and it seems like he’s kinda trying to get her to shut up. You know something weird is going on. And, yeah, they tell that, oh, it’s the old Dagmar place. You know? It’s it’s it’s the creepy haunted house backstory that you’ve gotta get. And then he’s got lines like, well, I I’m glad you’re here because this house needs a family.  It’s been 30 years since we had fresh souls in the Dagmar house. Like, you know, it’s it’s I can see how that could come across as cliched. I think for me, it was more almost like a just a throwback to an old school haunted house kind of story, and I thought it was a little bit charming. You know, I don’t know anything about the production of this movie or or, you know, what kind of budget they had. It feels, like an independent film. You know, it’s a small cast. There’s not a lot of expensive special effects stuff going on. However, you know, there are some cool special effects things later in the movie, but, it just felt kind of low key.  It almost, you know, it it it could serve very well, I think, in some regards as a play because the the cast is so limited and, the locations are very limited. And, so, yeah, you know, I I’m kind of with you, but at the same time, I don’t know. Todd me, it kind of struck a balance between being a classic horror story, haunted house story, but also kind of fresh. Like, it went in some directions that were unexpected. You know, in hindsight, in looking back on it, having watched the whole thing, the twists and things aren’t really all that original, but I didn’t see them all coming. So, I’ll give it that anyway.

Todd:  Yeah, I know what you’re saying. In fact, it almost feels written like a play because the dialogue is almost too economical. You know, Again, the guys come over and he comes over and immediately launches into the haunted house story and then says, Well, we better go. They’re the dialogue between the husband and wife when he’s consoling her, you know, when Paul is consoling Annie feels like something I’ve seen before. You know, it’s it’s I could almost predict that the words that would come out of their mouths next and that kind of disappointed me. But you’re right. What does kind of happen is a little it does keep you wondering because, for example, they keep he keeps talking about how the basement is getting super, super hot, and he needs to call the electrician out to to check it out, which is a little weird why you’d call the electrician out. Maybe it was an electric furnace, except it seemed like it was a, a wood furnace or a gas furnace.  At the same time, they had a wood burning stove upstairs. These little things kind of distract me, but you know, whatever. They call the guy over and he of course has to go down into the basement, the electrician, to fix things. And as he’s poking and prodding around, the lights go out and they go back on and they go out and they go back on, and there’s that whole sequence where he gets attacked by this menacing spirit, which I thought was rather frightening.

Craig:  Yeah. Yeah. It’s like this smoldering figure, looks like it’s burned and and still just just kind of, you know, ashen and and smoldering. You know, it’s kind of a jump scare. It jumps out at him and and grabs his arm, I think. And, I think he kinda you know, he screams from downstairs, and and, the husband, Dave, runs down and and thinks that he’s been burned, like, in an electrical short or something. The the electrician doesn’t say anything, you know, doesn’t tell them that he’s seen a ghost down there or whatever. But now we know.  And that’s the thing, you know, that’s kind of the thing that that I one of the things that I liked about the movie was that it left me wondering, throughout. I didn’t know how far they were gonna go. I really expected it, you know, in the beginning to just be kind of a bump in the night thing, strange things happening. I didn’t know if we were actually gonna get some sort of, you know, monster or apparition or ghost or whatever. And then when it appeared, and it this first time, and it it was really pretty frightening, atmospherically and visually. Then I’m just wondering, okay, you know, how obviously, this is some sort of malevolent force who has the potential to cause harm. How much farther than that is it gonna go? And I I just kept kind of being surprised. You know, like you said, it’s a little clunky.  It’s set up from the beginning. You know, after when when Dave and Kat, as they’re leaving, Kat hands oh, excuse me. When yeah. Yeah. The neighbors. When Kat hands, Paul a note that says, the house needs, underlined, a family. Get out, exclamation point. So we know there’s something weird going on.  We know obviously that, at least these neighbors, if not the rest of the townspeople, know that there’s something weird going on. And then, with the electrician, we see the ghost or whatever it is,

Todd:  and then it just kind of picks up from there. It moves right into, and again I just felt like this was so cliche, but whatever, it moves right into a conversation between Annie and Powell, and Annie is basically and I thought actually this was some of the worst dialogue in the film, And I have to say, I thought the acting laid it bare.

Clip:  I still feel something here.  So what are we gonna do about it?  What if Jacob and May came up for the weekend? May has always been interested in this stuff. She told me once that people pay her to do seances.  People with too much money.  And you like Jacob. He’s always so  Stoned.  Earthy. And they wrote us that lovely note after the accident. They said they’d always be there for us. I just think they might be able to help.  You already invited them, didn’t you?  Yeah.

Craig:  Yeah. Maybe she can get Our friend May who does the seances. Let’s have her over.

Todd:  Who who, by the way, as I read it, happens to be the the parents of this their dead son’s roommate at college.

Craig:  Right. Right.

Todd:  Yeah. Oh, come on. Okay. Whatever. Right?

Craig:  And Well, and then as soon as, you know, as soon as they say that, basically I mean, they have that conversation, I believe, while the workman’s down in the basement. So then the thing happens with the workman. And then right away, we jump to Jacob and May in the car. And they are, you know, these stereotypical characters where she’s kind of, you know, your classic airy, you know, kind of spiritualist and, he’s the wild haired stoner and, yeah. Kinda cliche characters. I don’t know. I just feel like it bothered you for some reason more than it did me. I I I just I you know, when these things happened and these characters were introduced, yeah, they were exactly what I expected, but it it seemed in step with the tone of the movie.  Like, I it just it felt like, okay. Yep. Alright. Now they’re gonna have their friends over, and and we’re gonna pre keep pushing the plot along, maybe find out a little bit more about what’s going on in this house.

Todd:  Right. And their friends happen to be, able to contact spirits, or at least that’s a hobby of theirs. Right. So, yeah. So they end up coming over, and they say, oh, by the way, our son, Harry and his girlfriend are gonna be joining us here as well, but they came up separately. So they go to the burger joint in town and again, they walk into this burger joint which is more like a bar and all the town’s people are in there and they’re absolutely quiet,

Craig:  you know. Oh, it’s that classic thing. You know, I swear to God, if I’m ever anywhere and I walk into a restaurant or a bar and every single local stops talking and just stares at me silently, I’m gonna know it’s time to get out of there. You know, something something bad is going down. And they, you know, they even comment on it. You know, when they’re sitting there eating their dinner, they’re talking about, I guess these people don’t take very kindly to strangers. Nice place you picked here. I’m gonna finish my meal, watch my back.  You know, like, they obviously know something weird is going on. And, yeah, I mean, that is cliche. We’ve seen that in a dozen movies that we’ve talked about. So, I can see where you’re coming from.

Todd:  Well, and then they’re having their conversation in there, and they say something about the house, and suddenly a waitress breaks a glass. Right. And everybody falls silent for a moment. I mean, like,

Craig:  really? Really?

Todd:  I’m sorry. It it was very distracting for me. And and, I mean, it’s clearly an independent production, and although some of the upper level upper list actors were were good, when you look at some of the acting of the extras or the extras or the bit players in here, there’s a stark contrast, I think, in their ability to sort of pull it off convincingly. I didn’t really think that the bartender was very convincing. I don’t know.

Craig:  And See, I wonder I wonder if the problem that you have with it is that they were taking themselves so seriously. You know, when we’ve seen this, you know, like, this this walk into the local place and have the locals all look at you. We’ve seen that in Witching and Bitching. We’ve seen it in that goofball horror movie that you had us watch. What what was it? The one where they eventually end up singing in the

Todd:  bar? Yes. Yes. Bloodbath at the House of Death. Right.

Craig:  But so we’ve seen this over and over again and usually it’s kind of wink wink nudge nudge and here they’re playing it straight and so maybe that doesn’t read quite as well.

Todd:  Well, I think it’s wink wink nudge nudge for a reason, you know, because like nobody in their right mind would think of putting this kind of stuff into a movie nowadays because it’s so cliche unless they were making fun of it. And you’re right. They’re not making fun of it here. And maybe it’s stretching into homage territory. I think so. But but again, as we said last week, I feel like it begs the question, when is own an homage, a loving homage? And when does an homage release also in a way need to stand on its own and be original? You know, do we really wanna see a movie with all the cliches thrown into it? Call it homage and love it for that or is that kind of movie really not what we wanna see anyway? I mean, you know.

Craig:  Well, I Yeah. I do know what you mean, and and, you know, you had us watch, and I’m glad you did. I enjoyed it. Zombie 2. And that’s a Lucio Fulci, film.

Todd:  Correct? Yes. Mhmm.

Craig:  Yeah. And this, what I read is that this movie is, inspired by his films, specifically, The House by the Cemetery, which I haven’t seen. So I have no point of reference. But, you know, I I wonder if that’s what they were going for, was really, you know, kind of an homage to those types of films. And perhaps rather than poke fun at them, they really kind of wanted to give it a go and and, you know, make one of these types of films. You know, it’s it’s set in the late seventies, so it’s got already kind of an older school vibe to it. In that regard, it reminded me a little bit of, like, The House of the Devil. Yes.  Very much so. Other movies that seem to be kind of throwbacks to those late seventies, horror films. And I didn’t think it was entirely unsuccessful. I when all said and done, you know, I thought it was a a pretty decent movie, but I can see where your criticisms come from.

Todd:  You know, and I love those full you know I love those full sheet movies. But you know, they came at a particular time in a particular place, and they have a style about them. Whether you like the style or not, it you’re able to overlook a multitude of sins in the storyline and in a plot that usually makes no sense and in dialogue that’s silly because there’s a style there. And if this director was trying to copy that same style, I won’t say he was successful, but I would say that he got about halfway there. But there’s just something kind of missing about it that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I’m gonna try to by the end of this podcast. Fair enough. Fair enough. You know? Yeah.

Craig:  I mean from there, it’s not that the plot is thin. It’s just, you know, some big things just kinda start happening in sequence. Like, the the parents, you know, the group of 4 adults, they all as as soon as they get there, basically, they all leave and, like you say, go to that bar for dinner, and they leave a note on the door, for Harry, the son, and his girlfriend. And Harry and the girlfriend show up. And, they go inside, and they make themselves comfortable. And, they kinda start to act like they’re maybe gonna start to fool around or make out or something, but then they hear, something strange, some weird noise. So Harry goes off to investigate, and he thinks the noise came from the basement. So he walks down there, and he’s down at the bottom of the steps and, his girlfriend, who I don’t even know if she had a name, but, she’s standing at the top of the stairs and he’s at the bottom, and we’re just kind of switching back and forth between their perspectives.  So we’ll see his face in close-up and then we’ll see her face in close-up and he says something like, boy, it sure is hot down here. And she’s looking down and there’s kind of we see this look of fear come over her face and it cuts back to him and clearly he notices it Todd. And You okay?

Clip:  Oh, shoot.

Craig:  And I thought it was hilarious that the girlfriend’s response was just to hightail it out of there. She, you know, she she runs out the door, jumps in the car, and starts taking off. And I’m thinking, wow, you know, that there’s some loyalty for you. And I’m thinking, okay, so I guess she’s just gonna take off, so nobody’s gonna know what happens. But as she’s driving along, this burning hand bursts through the back of the seat, bursts all the way through her body, and she’s dead Todd. And the car just kind of careens off, into a feel. And that that really took me off guard. I didn’t expect there to be that kind of carnage in this movie.  I didn’t expect the threat to be that intense. I didn’t expect, you know, this character who is the son of the or excuse me, the roommate of the kid who had already died. I didn’t expect these deaths, to happen and and so, it it it kind of kept me guessing as to where it was gonna go and how far it was gonna go.

Todd:  No. I’m I’m totally with you. It was very Todd, you know, with these haunted house movies that sometimes it’s like like like again with the electrician. Oh, well, he could have just himself. Right. Oh, something fell off, you know, the balcony. It hit somebody on the head. Was it a ghost or was it an accident? But in these cases, there is the apparition, like, with his hands on the guy’s head almost looking like he’s splitting it open and of course Right.  Putting his hand through her chest. Todd does set the tone for a whole different kind of movie. And, and again, it is very in keeping with Fulci’s type of film. And I haven’t I saw the house by the cemetery a long time ago. I do remember that the ghost was in the, apparitions looked a lot like this, and that they were definitely in the basement. So I couldn’t tell you how closely it’s Right. Paralleling that, but in its boldness, it definitely parallels his whole oeuvre where it’s, you know, the threat is always very real, it’s very prescient, it’s very, it’s not a wistful little apparition that comes and goes necessarily. It’s a very real three-dimensional object that’s there and it’s gonna get you.

Craig:  Right. And it’s not like something like, was it the Woman in Black with Daniel Radcliffe that we watched? Mhmm. Where, you know, there’s a ghost and the ghost is scary, but you don’t really feel like there’s really all that much of a threat. You know?

Todd:  Like Yeah.

Craig:  Not really you know, it doesn’t really seem like anybody’s in real danger. You know? Here, it really felt like people, you know, are in in real danger. And, you know, and and it moves quickly. You know, when when, Harry gets killed, May, his mother, is at, the restaurant still, and she reacts like she has some kind of, you know, guttural reaction. Like, she doesn’t know what’s happened, but she has this bad feeling. And so I don’t think that that’s what necessarily sit leads them to go back. You know, I think they’re just done, but they go back. And then we get this scene with these 2 waitresses at Buffalo Bill’s, this bar slash burger joint.  And there’s a knock on the door and they’re like, We’re closed. But the knock is persistent, so the older one, Maddie, sends the younger one to the door and she goes to the door and then all we hear is a gunshot. And then Dave and Kat, the older couple, the neighbors from before walk in, and the older waitress was like, oh, if I had known it was you, I wouldn’t have sent the new girl. And again, this was just something that kind of threw me. Like, did Dave and Cat shoot that other waitress? And if so, why?

Todd:  Exactly. But still, even after seeing the movie, that still makes no sense.

Craig:  Yeah. I don’t get it at all.

Todd:  It makes no sense. And but you’re right. It does throw you off guard, and it’s jolting. But it’s just jolting to be jolting because there’s no rhyme or reason to it. Right. Except, you know, now we know that Dave is a dangerous character, and they’re dealing, he’s somehow he and, obviously, at least her and possibly more of the town people are involved and know exactly what’s going on at the house and are even perpetuating it in some way, shape, or form.

Craig:  Well, and and Dave is like the scary exposition giver. Like, here we get, you know, this backstory, you know, he’s talking to Matty and he’s saying,

Clip:  You do realize what will happen if they leave, don’t you? Yeah. Do you really, Mattie? Do you? The town didn’t realize it back in 49. And when that darkness didn’t get a new family, it spread like a plague until it found many.

Craig:  And when he says there’s a darkness in the house that wakes up every 30 years, and it’s hungry, and he says, you know, if the Dagmars haven’t killed them yet, we’ll have to do it ourselves. Or she says we’ll have to do it ourselves or something like that. So there’s obviously something going on. The townspeople obviously know about it. And, again, this was another twist that I didn’t really see coming. You know, I thought, okay. The townspeople know. Maybe the townspeople want them to stay there for some reason because they have to be some kind of sacrifice or something.  But when the house isn’t killing these people, these townspeople are just ready to take matters into their own hands and do it themselves if they have to. And I I Todd didn’t I I knew that there had to be more to the story and I didn’t know what it was. And it was confusing, but I was kind of happy when later on it’s sort of kind of explained,

Todd:  a little bit. It kind of is, but it still doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? I I mean, well, there are just a lot of holes in that. And and, boy, he’s he’s he’s writing it real close to Fulci Right. Whose whose stories also never make any sense. And honestly, again, we’re talking cliches and this guy telling somebody what they already know just so he could be exposition man for us who are watching. I just would expect more than that, you know, something a little more subtle, something a little better, especially since we get it all again at the end when we finally do figure out what’s going on. Right. From the same man.  Right. You know? Right. It’s I don’t know. I I just think it was just really distracting for me. But, anyway, the the family goes back to the house, and they don’t know that the, son and his girlfriend are dead because they don’t go in the basement, and they obviously didn’t pass her car on the street. And the they never took that note off the door, so they figure, well, they they they left. So, they get there, and they sit around, and they chat some more. And are we gonna have a seance? And, the woman I think is kind of against it, because she says, no.  You don’t need a seance. I can feel a presence in this house already. It’s already here.

Craig:  And it’s bad. You know, she says, it’s it’s dark. You know, there’s darkness all around and and, again, the the main woman, Annie, you know, keeps saying, it’s Bobby. I know it’s Bobby. I I can feel him. I can hear him. You know, sometimes she, and and her husband kind of hear this really muted whispering in the background, and they think it’s him. They’re seeing more things like, Paul, in the night, you know, sees some of those apparitions, the burning apparitions, But he kinda wakes up and thinks maybe it was a dream.  But there’s all kinds of things going on. But in the morning oh, well, and, the the May, the one who, you know, has these spiritual tendencies or whatever, she says, it’s not Bobby. It’s something that wants you to think that it’s Bobby, but it’s not him. And so she doesn’t want to really get into it. So she and, Annie go into town for groceries just to kinda get away from the house. And while they’re gone, Jacob says, we’re gonna do a seance right now. And and Paul says, well, would Mae like that? And he says, no. She wouldn’t.  That’s why we’re gonna do it right now when they’re gone. And, so they start this seance. And I actually thought that this scene was really kind of spooky and, effectively creepy.

Todd:  The seance was fantastic. The leading up to it, I thought was a little clunky. My favorite line, maybe my favorite bad line in the whole movie was when Paul turns to Jacob and says,

Clip:  well, if you can disprove my skepticism, I will be very, very impressed.

Todd:  I thought, who talks like that? True. Very true. But yeah. No. You’re right. This scene was fantastic.

Craig:  Yeah. I mean, they start this seance and and, you know, the Jacob is is leading it or whatever. They’ve lit candles or whatever and, he starts talking. He’s reading out of a book. It’s all very standard stuff that you see in any kind of seance in a movie. But then he starts saying disturbing things.

Clip:  This house welcomes his spirit and asks him to join us. And with love and compassion, we will help him cross to the next realm and peel the skin off his bones.  What did you say?

Craig:  And he’s like, oh, no. It’s just standard seance stuff. And he he keeps on, talking. And again, it kinda goes back to standard stuff. But then he says something else like, I’m asking well, first, he says, I’m asking my son to join us. And Paul says, don’t you mean my son? He’s like, oh, yeah. Your son. I want him to come here so he can rot like wasted meat.  And it’s really it’s it’s subtle enough that you’re a little bit uncertain what’s going on, but at the same time, by the time you start saying the creepy stuff repeatedly, you realize that something is taking him over. That it’s not him. It’s somebody else speaking through him. And and the actor, I thought, did a good job of playing that subtlety so that it wasn’t an immediate shift. It had you guessing a little bit, but at the same time it was really unsettling. And then eventually, of course, whatever entity has taken him over takes over fully, and then he’s straight up possessed.

Todd:  Oh, it’s fantastic. And it’s really brilliant. I mean, one of the one of the brilliant moments in this film actually was exactly what you described and how he played it. You know, when you hear it that first time, you’re also doing kind of a double take. Like, did I just hear what I just heard? And then, of course, after that, it just forces you to listen intently to what I’m saying, like, every little word. It just really razor focuses your mind. It keeps you on the edge of your seat until he does burst out and it just makes it 10 times more freaky.

Craig:  Yeah. And then things from this point I feel like move really fast. Like up until this point, it had been a little bit of a slow burn. You know, things have been happening. I I was never bored, but it it was kind of building slowly. And then from this point on, it’s just boom boom boom boom boom. The the girls, women come back, and, Paul has Jacob tied to a chair and Jacob is, you know, clearly possessed, freaking out. Paul has gagged him with, it looks like, a sweat sock or something.  And Jacob just like ingests it and swallows it like you see it going down his throat. It’s super creepy. And then, he starts talking. His wife, May, asks him what happened, and he says, this town is what happened. This is my house. So we assume that this is Dagmar, the guy that we heard about before. And, at the same time, Kat, the old neighbor lady who was acting weird from the beginning, she calls and we see that she’s calling from a pool of what we assume is her own blood, and she says, I told you to leave. And and and Paul says something like, we know Dagmar is here.  And she says Dagmar is not what you need to be worried about. That, I’m sorry, that scene was so cornball. Oh, it was? It was so weird. Cornball. And totally unexplained, you know? Like, why is she dead now? Or, you know, I presume that her husband killed her for being traitorous or whatever, but, you know, it’s just it’s never explained. And and she obviously was weird and off put from the beginning, so why does he kill her now? I don’t know.

Todd:  Yeah. It Todd didn’t make a lot of sense and the way it’s staged Todd, it’s just like really? This is this is so goofy. She’s laying on the floor, but she managed to reach a phone and she’s kinda sprawled out. Well, it’s her last words to this guy. Thankfully, she was able to call him at just the right moment.

Craig:  Right. Exactly. You know, I don’t know. You know, things were happening so quickly, I almost just kind of appreciated the jarring imagery. Like, it came out of nowhere, you had no idea what was going on, but, you know, when she says it’s not Dagmar that you have to worry about, we already know that the townspeople have vowed to kill these people if the spirits in the house aren’t going to. But then Dagmar, through Jacob, continues talking and he says, we were good people. This town murdered my family. They sacrificed them to the gods or something.  Again, this is one of those places where I rewound it several times to try to hear exactly what he was saying and I never could get it fully. He says something like, they opened something awful and it needs a family or something like that.

Todd:  Well, there are allusions earlier about something about what’s under the house. Something’s under the house.

Craig:  Right. And, like, in the basement there’s a big hole in a wall and, you know, they wonder if there’s something behind there, but they can’t really see. It’s never really explained. So yeah. I mean, obviously, there’s something going on with the with the house and

Todd:  the location. It was built on an ancient Indian burial ground.

Craig:  Yeah.

Todd:  Well, we could we never This

Craig:  is easily have been. Yeah.

Todd:  Well, I feel like at this point, on, you know, it does get pretty real, and they’re running around inside the house, not really trying to go outside the house because the townspeople are closing in on them.

Craig:  Well, and it just happened so quickly. You know, Jacob, after he delivers the message that he’s got to deliver, I suppose, he just grabs a fireplace poker and stabs himself in the eye with it, and he’s dead. So then they go they do initially try to run outside, and and May is leading them. And I liked this shot. She opens the door and we’re just seeing her from behind, and we don’t see anything in front of her and her head just gets blown off. And and I didn’t see that coming, you know. I didn’t expect all of these characters to be, or I say all, I mean it’s only a couple, but, you know, for them not only to die, I didn’t necessarily expect them to die, but then in such rapid succession, it was it was jarring and for me it was kind of jarring in a Todd way because it was unexpected.

Todd:  Yeah, I agree with you. I think, they run upstairs, the couple. Mhmm. Paul and Annie. Paul and Annie run upstairs, and, they’re looking out trying to figure out what they’re going to do. At the meantime, it’s obvious that all the townspeople are kind of coming to the house. I Yeah.

Craig:  It’s like the whole mob of townspeople. Well, this was something that I thought was interesting because I I’ve seen there are 2 things going on at once and I’ve seen them both, but never really both at the same time. You’ve got the angry townspeople mob coming in and they’re obviously a major threat, but then you’ve also got the burned apparitions in the house. And and you kind of think that both of these groups are a danger to Paul and Annie, But as it plays out, you see that the burned apparitions in the house are really targeting the townspeople. Yeah. And and they they take out the townspeople, you know, 1 by 1 really pretty quickly. And there’s some you know, I think a lot of the effects were were relatively practical, but they I found them to be pretty pretty darn effective.

Todd:  They’re effective. I I just couldn’t quite figure out why the townspeople still felt like they needed to be there, why they needed to get upstairs in the midst of them getting picked off, you know? Right. I mean, it it was just it was just weird. Like, okay, you’re in this house. You think you’re you’re coming here to peace the ghosts, but you’re instead getting killed. Wouldn’t you figure out, okay, well apparently this isn’t what we’re supposed to be doing and turn and hightail and leave. But they were just like more resolved to get up those steps, you know, in the wake of 2 the 2 people before them who got, you know, either pulled down into the steps or melted into them or got attacked on them or whatever. Like, one woman finally makes it upstairs.  Wasn’t it the, the bartender, Maggie. The bartender. And this scene was so oddly staged.

Craig:  It was.

Todd:  You know, she kinda walks in and it’s supposed to be, I guess, quiet but

Craig:  I couldn’t even know what it’s supposed to be. Like it seemed to me like it was supposed to be a setup. Like Annie and Paul were setting her up, because Annie had like a fistful of kitchen knives, you know, just just steak knives.

Todd:  Right. And she’s facing the window away from the stairs, but then as as the bartender comes in, Paul all of a sudden yells out like, oh, she’s here. Look out. And that’s when Annie spins around. It was just so weird.

Craig:  Yeah. It was. That that part, cause it was unclear to me if they were, you know, just waiting for somebody and they were, you know, they had this plan. That’s what I thought. But then Paul acted like he was surprised and, you know, that he had to warn Annie and then she turned around. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. You know, she stabs the the lady in the neck with these knives and

Todd:  she dies. Who falls against this like white tarp that happens to be there so we can get the full effect of the blood spray? Right.

Craig:  The other thing that I thought was weird is that they they’ve said over and over and over again, you know, that the house requires a sacrifice. Well, how big of a sacrifice does the house need? You know, like a bunch of people have already died in here. You know, does it have to be this specific people that live there? All of that was very, you know, hazy. I I wasn’t really sure what was going on. But it ends up, in kind of a confrontation between Dave, the creepy neighbor guy. First of all, he’s downstairs and he just straight up confronts the ghosts, who we presume are the Dagmar family, and and, you know, one of them is clearly the dad. And Dave says, you know what you have to do. Now get it done.  He’s and he says something like, you loved this house so much that you were willing to die for it, and we have been willing to protect you and let you stay here, but you’ve gotta do your part of

Todd:  the deal, or whatever. Which is, like, totally flips it around.

Craig:  Right. And that’s again another thing that I liked and, I was talking about this last night, with my partner who didn’t watch the movie with me, by the way, but I was kind of explaining the twist, and he said, Oh, it sounds like Stir of Echoes. And I thought, Yeah, it is a lot like Stir of Echoes, where you think that the apparition is the bad guy, but it turns out, spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen Stir of Echoes, it turns out that it’s really not. You know, the apparition was a victim as well. At least, that’s the way that I read it. Almost like the Dagmar family had been the first sacrifice, and then their spirits had stayed around in the house. And then, I guess, they had helped to continue the sacrifices over the decades.

Todd:  Yeah, that’s the part that gets weird. Well, then why is the Dagmar family involved in continuing? I mean the house was built for them, they were the first people in there.

Craig:  Well that was the story that Dave Todd, but I don’t know that we can necessarily believe everything that he said. But Maybe the house was built and then they or maybe they built it for this family, but so that family could be the sacrifice or whatever.

Todd:  Maybe. I mean, but then there are, you know, during the ending credits, you know, jumping ahead, there are all these newspaper articles and if you kinda read through them, they seem to almost confirm Dave’s side of the story. I don’t know.

Craig:  Well, I guess, you know, things happen pretty quickly. You know, Dave is saying, he he he talks to the Dagmars and then the couple, Annie and Paul, come down and he talks to them, and he says something like, well, Paul says, what do you want? And he says, it’s not what I want. It’s what the house wants. You will stay here and satisfy the darkness. And he says, anyway, why would you want to leave and leave your little boy all alone? So I guess he is saying, you know, your son is here and and you should just go along with this so that you can be with him forever. But then the Dagmars kill Dave, and it kind of seems like that’s the end of it. And then, like I said before, Paul and Annie had kind of been hearing this whispering and they thought that it was Bobby. And there’s whispering again.  I rewound it. I cranked the TV up. The whispering says, Don’t be afraid, mom. And, so she goes walking towards the cellar and I think Paul, the dad says, we’re still here. You know, get the title in there. And he walks down to the cellar and we don’t see anything. We just see his face. He looks down the stairs and he says, hi, Bobby.  And that’s that’s it. You know, that’s that’s the end of the movie proper before we get to this interesting, Craig sequence. And I I still don’t know what to make of it. You know, the whole time the whole time I thought, you know, that the apparitions in the house were maybe just leading them to believe that Bobby was there so that, so that they would stay or they would be an easier target or whatever, but then it seems to indicate at the end that maybe he was there all along. Maybe he was, you know, helping them and and maybe even that the fact that he was there is maybe the reason that the Dagmars didn’t kill this family. I don’t know. Tons of questions, left. But the credits, like you said, it’s a bunch of newspaper articles, and it chronicles back, you know, all the way to the 18 articles and it chronicles back all the way to the 1800.  And what I took from it, it has the history, you know, every 30 years, something terrible happened in this town. You know, 1 year, all their crops died, 1 year all their livestock died, 1 year there was a fire or something like that. And tell me if if this is what you took from it too, was was that there was something bad happening in that town and the townspeople figured out that if they made a sacrifice every 30 years, they could prevent these bad things from happening. Is that kind of what you got from it?

Todd:  Yeah. I mean, it wasn’t clear on what the sacrifice was, but after having watched the movie, we assumed, oh, somebody moved into the house, or they pushed somebody into the house, or something like that, and then the house took care of these people, and then boom. Yeah. The the, the rivers ran clear again, and,

Craig:  you know,

Todd:  the crops were the the fields were fertile again. Yeah. That’s kinda what I took out of it. It it still leaves open that question of, well, you know, he said, it’s not what I want. It’s what the house wants. Well, if the house is perfectly capable of getting what it wants, aside from maybe ensuring that there’s somebody in the house every 30 years, why do the townspeople need to keep tabs on whether they’re dead or not, and whether they’re dead in 2 weeks or not? You know what I mean?

Craig:  Yeah. I know exactly what you mean. And again, you know, you’re the big Fulci fan. I’ve only seen the one movie that you showed me. But from that one movie, I remember that

Clip:  there just are unanswered questions. You know, like, that that’s

Craig:  you just have to kinda deal with it. You know, you know, I guess, okay.

Todd:  You know, it only gets frustrating when you feel like the filmmaker at some point feels like they’re explaining it to you. You know? Yeah. Like, because of exposition, man.

Craig:  Right. Right.

Todd:  You know, who comes along at all the right times to really just lay it out. And in a really clunky, unnatural way, I feel like you’re supposed to end this movie. And and if that’s not enough, you get these newspaper articles at the end. I feel like you’re supposed to end this movie with a fairly clear idea of what’s going on.

Craig:  Right.

Todd:  But it’s So I don’t feel like it’s deliberately written to be obtuse, you know?

Clip:  Mhmm.

Todd:  But it is so obtuse.

Craig:  Yeah. You know, I having sat here and talked with you for almost an hour about it now, I get the strong feeling that you weren’t really a big fan of this movie and I I gotta say I’m a little bit surprised. I kind of thought you would have liked it more than you did, and I didn’t not like it. It I I I thought it was fine. You know, there were cliched things about it, but it kept me interested. It kept me questioning. Not all of the questions were answered, but I didn’t walk away from it feeling totally dissatisfied. I didn’t walk away from it, you know, with my hands in the air saying, what did I just watch? What just happened? Yeah.  There were lots of, maybe plot holes, some inconsistencies. But overall I found it to be a pretty entertaining film for, you know, an hour and 25 minutes. Don’t get me wrong. I mean, I felt

Todd:  it was entertaining. I didn’t hate the film. I didn’t think it was a piece of crap, and I wasted my time. But I guess if the movie’s not gonna make sense, I want it to make up for it in some way. You know what I mean? Yeah. And and that way, it’s gotta be it’s gotta have some serious style. You know? Yeah. Or it’s gotta have some great acting, or it has to have some characters that I really cared about.  And I can’t say that I found any of those three things in abundance in this movie.

Craig:  Fair enough.

Todd:  Yeah. I just felt that, like, it had its moments. Don’t get me wrong. It had its real moments. The seance scene was fantastic. Mhmm. The boldness of these apparitions meaning business and get even getting out of the house to murder somebody in their car and doing it full on, was was cool. But at the end of the day, I guess it it in a way, it kind of felt amateur hour compared to what I’m used to with the other movies that don’t make sense that at least have quite a bit of size style behind them, which, you know, again, like the full sheet films that we’re talking about and and maybe that just cut you know, this is just one man’s opinion, right? You may not be touched by those old Italian giallo flicks like I obviously am.  You’d think that because I’m so touched by them, this kind of homage would, I’d be falling all over myself for. But I’m really not for the same reason I wasn’t falling all over myself for Night of the Creeps, in that it’s just cut and pasted in a modern sort of updated setting or at least with modern cinematic techniques and a modern acting style and things like that Todd doesn’t always work for me.

Craig:  Yeah. And to me, I feel like it worked almost as well as some of the other movies that are going for the same type of thing. You know, I feel like, is it is it Ty West who did, House of

Todd:  the Devil? House of the Devil, which I also didn’t care for.

Craig:  Oh, well, C and I kinda did. So maybe it’s just a different sensibility, you know. And and he also did, The Innkeepers. Right? Which I love. And you liked that one. And see, now I think, you know, even this movie is in tone and style a little bit reminiscent of that. So I guess, you know, it’s just a matter of taste. You know, this one wasn’t your cup of tea.  I didn’t love it. It wasn’t one of my favorite movies ever, but, and I I’m not really sure I if I see and maybe I would need to read, you know, the reviews and the criticisms or whatever. Mhmm. You know, it’s got such positive response. Maybe they’re seeing something that I missed. I I don’t know if I understand why it’s gotten so much, Craig. But I I I liked it. I thought it was a solid effort.

Todd:  Yeah. Fair enough. Well, thank you so much for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed us, please share this episode with a friend. They could find us on iTunes. They could find us on Stitcher. If you enjoy this podcast, please check out our Facebook page. Like us on there.  Share that with a friend as well. And leave us some comments. Let us know what you enjoyed. Let’s start a conversation online. Continue that, with each other. And let us know a a film or 2 that you’d like us to review in the future. Until then, I’m Todd. I’m Craig with 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

3 Responses

  1. Ryan says:

    I was really hoping you guys would shed some light on why the waitress was shot. Many other unanswered questions. This movie packed in so many cliches that I never bought into it. Some of the acting felt like community theatre. Don’t know why this one got so much attention.

  2. toddkuhns says:

    I have to agree. Just didn’t settle well with me. IMHO, there was no good reason for the waitress to get shot. It was just a poor bit of writing to create a moment of shock and to emphasize “these are the bad guys”. But really, there wasn’t a proper motivation there. I think we were supposed to go with “she knew too much,” but actually all she was doing was asking questions. Not really enough for the antagonists to take the extreme and risky measure of offing her. I am also dumbstruck that this film is so well-reviewed.

  3. Ryan says:

    I think the moment it lost my respect is when the baseball came bouncing down the stairs. We’ve seen that in too many movies since The Changeling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *