We Are Still Here Detailed Review (no spoilers)
Since I actually do have some academic training vis-à-vis film criticism, here is a more detailed, spoiler free version of my thoughts about We Are Still Here
This review will be spoiler free. I'm just going to go over my thoughts about the different elements of the film as they were the day after I watched it.
The film was suggested to me based off of the trailer so I watched that first and it definitely seemed like something I would be interested in. My curiosity was peaked when I saw that the film has only 1.5 stars on Netflix. These ratings typically don't put me off because who knows why it was rated that way. It could be something that doesn't bother me, but bothers lots of other people. For example, I love the Hellraiser films but they don't have too many favorable reviews. God only knows why - Pinhead is such a loveable scamp. So I pressed on.
Cast: In general the casting was… awkward. A lot of the cast was made up of people that make you go “Where have I seen them before?” so that was a bit distracting right off the bat. After going to imdb it turned out I did indeed recognize some of them like scream queen Barbara Crampton who plays the wife. The acting didn't seem natural and prevented me from getting fully immersed in the world of the film. The characters’ motivations were unclear and confusing. Had the ending revealed that all of the characters were pod people imitating how they imaged humans to be I would not have been surprised.
Plot/Story: The story was not fleshed out. It seemed like they were working more on an outline than a fully realized script. There were hints of plot elements that could have gone to very interesting places but they just left me wondering and waiting. This film falls victim to telling over showing. I feel like there was some required reading before viewing this film. It was as if the filmmakers expected me to know things about the world and character backstories that I had no way of knowing. The characters would off-handedly mention an event or person that seemed important but would never expand on why it or they were important. This made the viewing experience frustrating.
Cinematography: The establishing and wide shots in this film were breathtaking. Many of the still shots could be hung up on a wall and displayed as art. The atmospheric wide shots set a seriously creepy tone that the dialog and acting did not. in contrast the close up shots were jarring. It was as if the filmmakers were trying to hide something in the background so the put the camera as close as possible to the actor's faces without touching. It made me feel
Directing: As I mentioned in the casting section, I felt that the acting came off false. I don't know how much of that was directing missteps and how much was acting missteps.
Effects: The effects were very well done. They were realistic, impressive, and chilling. I feel like I can't say too much more than that without giving away elements of the plot.
Overall, the acting was awkward and distracting, the story left me disappointed,
Watching this film was like being on a train ride. I was speeding past beautiful scenery and interesting scenarios that I wanted to see more of but the train was going too fast and the ride was too short to leave me with anything more than a sense of vague disappointment.