After the madness of YellowBrickRoad, writer-directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton return with another impressive horror entry. While more traditional in style and aim than their debut feature, this remains something a bit different. Yet it also ladles on the atmosphere and traditional scares with a skill rarely seen at this level (not to dismiss the many fine horror movies we see every year, I am just emphasising that this is a top-tier flick with very few of the flaws we usually see associated with considerably lower budgets).
Clark Freeman plays Miles, a young man who seems to be afraid of almost everything in the world around him. Especially cars. He's one of the few people who doesn't drive. In an effort to release himself from his paralysing fears, Miles overs a large financial reward to anyone who can prove that there is something after death. He wants to take some comfort in the fact that we go on, hence the title. After wading through a large pile of kooks and deluded responses, he narrows his potential candidated down to just a few. Heading off to meet each one, with his mother (Annette O'Toole) in tow, he soon finds that there may not be any proof out there. Until it appears right under his nose. And then he might wish he hadn't started on this journey.
There are only two main problems with We Go On. First of all, Freeman isn't the best lead. He's not terrible, by any means, but it certainly takes a while to warm to his character. After some careful consideration, I concluded that this was due more to Freeman's performance than the writing, which is pretty solid throughout. The second main problem is a surprising lack of tension during some sequences. There's atmosphere and some wonderfully spooky details, and a few fantastic jump scares, but the tension dissipates once some rules are laid down and you know what can and cannot occur. That doesn't make the experience of some of the main characters any less harrowing, however, and it's a minor flaw when the rest of the actual horror content is so well handled.
As well as Freeman and O'Toole (who is wonderful, by the way, in her portrayal of a mother who will go to almost any lengths to keep her son safe and well), the cast includes John Glover in a small role (making the film an extra little treat for Smallville fans), Giovanna Zacarias as an alleged psychic plagued by the presence of spirits around her, Jay Dunn as a lovesick stranger, and Laura Heisler as a young woman trying to keep a dangerous individual out of her life. All of these people interconnnect in ways that feel nicely plausible without ever seeming too contrived, in the context of the main premise.
Holland and Mitton have certainly learned a thing or two over the past few years, although I am still also a huge fan of their debut, and We Go On uses almost every trick in the book to deliver the chills. The visuals and production design are solid, the audio moves up and down to prime you for those big scares, and the script manages to satisfy everyone while also still leaving room for some personal interpretation.
If you enjoyed some of the bigger supernatural hits from the last decade or so (The Sixth Sense, Stir Of Echoes, White Noise, etc) then you should love this one. It's up there with the very best of 'em.
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