When it comes to ghost stories, a film can often lose its audience through repetition, showing us things we’ve already seen a hundred times, We Go On is not one of those films. Directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton have already made a name for themselves at Dead by Dawn with their intriguing woods-flick YellowBrickRoad back in 2011. Holland and Mitton have clearly learnt from that experience, taking the superb sound-design elements and working hard to make sure the story is just as interesting.Miles (Clark Freeman from YellowBrickRoad) is a young agoraphobic man so terrified of death he decides to start an investigation into the paranormal. Aided by his mother (Annette O’Toole from IT) Miles offers three different “experts” the chance to make their case, whilst becoming dangerously embroiled in the space between worlds.
We Go On is aided first and foremost by the heartfelt duo of Freeman and O’Toole. The whole mother/son supernatural investigation duo thing feels fresh and sure-as-shit beats another school group or down-and-out writer. Much of that comes down to the fact the lead characters are integral to the story rather than sitting ducks waiting to be offed one-by-one. Mitton and Holland have decided to focus on the how and why, making their supernatural horror film as much of a heart-felt family drama as they can without losing the edge. And there’s plenty of edge.
Again, sound plays a massive role, though doesn’t quite become the experimental omnipresence it was in YellowBrickRoad. Here the sound is just a very well manipulated facet of a immersive chiller. The scares are bare-faced and often intrusive, hinted-at momentarily by a soundtrack that could have went balls to the wall every five minutes but instead focuses on sneaking around the viewer for ages before we catch on. As with Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense we learn to become hyper-vigilant: always looking out for the next ghost, consistently frightened/emotional when they eventually appear. There’s a couple of jumps in here that deserve credit for not shamelessly exploiting the audience like many popular horror films. Sure there might be a little down-time, some scenes where the intrigue and pace slow down, but it’s never irritatingly vapid.
Savvy, tender, and scary, this is one of the better ghost films I’ve seen recently, precisely because it doesn’t try to cash-in on just about every trope it can muster. Where YellowBrickRoad fell down, (mostly its characters and how involving it was) We Go On is a film with direction and heart. It’s a story about a guy who’s terrified to die, going on a paranormal investigation with his sparky loving mum. That’s a pretty unique set-up and thankfully it really pays off.
Mitton and Holland’s sophomore feature is a well-paced, considered, and ultimately spooky journey into the afterlife. The pairing of O’Toole and Mitton is believably emotional and a major keystone for this impressive, if sometimes meandering, journey.
Dir. Jesse Holand & Andy Mitton
Stars: Clark Freeman, Annette O’Toole, John Glover, Jay Dunn, Giovanna Zacarias