Directors: Jesse Holland, Andy Mitton
Cast: Clark Freeman, Annete O’Toole, John Glover
Watch We Go On online in the UK: Shudder UK
Taking on the sparse, daylight strewn yet still effectively creepy ambience of Mike Flanagan’s impressive Absentia, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton have crafted an unsettling small-scale piece that manages to entertain, scare and also ask more questions about our own personal connections with death than you may expect going in.
The idea of death being all around us and how we relate to that is key to We Go On. An impressive lead performance by Clark Freeman shows us a man, who, through personal tragedy, is afraid to live a fulfilling life, but wants reassurance that we continue after death regardless. Sadness seeps through Freeman’s pores and, while he is less successful when the requisite frights pop up, his understated and natural performance makes for an incredibly empathetic character whom you very much will a happy ending for.
If this sounds as if it all may be a bit of a slog, on-screen it really is not. Holland and Mitton use their LA locations very well: cloudless blue skies and fantastic use of negative space are juxtaposed with unsettling on-screen sights and tension in the narrative to make a film that feels like it shouldn’t work on paper, but does. This is aided by a wonderful performance from Annette O’Toole, who provides a great deal of comic relief, particularly in the film’s opening half, but also gets the emotional beats right.
We Go On’s scares primarily consist of jump moments and these are probably its least successful moments. They feel almost a requirement for today’s horror audience, as it feels like a film can’t only be unsettling any more, but everything around them works well. It seems as though they aren’t a primary concern for Holland and Mitton either, as We Go On’s climax barely even bothers with them, instead going for some low-key conversations, along with a touch of violence, which fully rounds out the narrative arc; it ends on a somewhat ambiguous note, but it’s still emotionally fulfilling.
Serious questions about death are very hard to convey in cinema and the horror genre’s usual ingredients usually do well to mask the big questions, but We Go On feels different. An indie horror not primarily concerned with scaring but instead performance and emotional beats? If you are in the mood for it, it may well wrap you up in its odd little world. One of the best indie horrors of the year.
We Go On is available exclusively on Shudder UK, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, or £49.99 yearly membership.
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