“WE GO ON” (Film Review)Movies/TV,News,Reviews Ken W. Hanley
The latest film from the directing duo behind YELLOWBRICKROAD, WE GO ON is a film that works so well because even despite the familiar thematic material as of late, it’s got the organic pacing and storytelling that feels so far removed from contemporary horror. In an age where scares-per-minute and body count are so often the barometer for “memorable” horror, WE GO ON adopts an aesthetic that feels incredibly natural, allowing the story to unfold with character moments and interactions that a big studio might automatically lose in the editing bay. But by preserving the spirit of the narrative, WE GO ON works better than most outings in the independent horror circuit, and does so while also being legitimately scary and unpredictable.
Set in Los Angeles, WE GO ON follows Miles, a neurotic man afflicted with crippling anxieties, most of which relate to his mortality. In an effort to definitively calm his nerves, Miles puts out a listing promising $30,000 to anyone who can prove- without a doubt- the existence of life after death. After narrowing down his prospective choices to four, Miles embarks on a journey to see if any of the respective finalists are worth their word, even though he may not be ready for the repercussions.
WE GO ON is a really fascinating horror offering for many reasons: the film almost serves as a commentary on horror filmmaking while in itself being an incredibly strong example of dramatic genre storytelling. In fact, this writer wouldn’t be lying if there weren’t shades of INSIDIOUS, IT FOLLOWS and even MULHOLLAND DRIVE throughout WE GO ON, even if unintentionally so. Yet even despite some heavier story beats, the film never feels dreary or unforgiving; instead, WE GO ON feels wholly naturalistic and real in that it’s an incredibly human story where the supernatural elements feel exactly as such, and it’s not afraid to have a little fun at times either. In that sense, WE GO ON gets really scary when it wants to be, especially considering the grounded, conflicted characters that are stuck in the middle of an incredibly terrifying situation.
In terms of technical formidability, Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton knock out WE GO ON incredibly impressively; there’s a real confidence in the material that allows them to approach the story so unconventionally. From a story of their own design, the duo knows the value of the story that they’re telling, which incredibly informs their cinematic language: thankfully, WE GO ON isn’t edited to the bone, nor is it a bloated art house offering. And while Holland & Mitton also take on editing and composition roles for the film, WE GO ON also works in large part to the unique cinematography of Jeffrey Waldron, the impressive FX from Sierra Russell and the organic production design of Yong Ok Lee.
WE GO ON also benefits from having an incredibly strong cast to bring the clever script to life, all of whom bring confident, passionate performances to the proceedings. Clark Freeman is a revelation as Miles, selling every moment of anxiety and fear both physically and emotionally whilst still carrying an everyman feel so few leading men can convey. WE GO ON also offers fantastic supporting turns by Giovanna Zacarias, Jay Dunn and Laura Heisler, each who fit into WE GO ON’s puzzle in their own respective way. And, of course, WE GO ON also features exceptional performances from Annette O’Toole and John Glover, with the former shattering expectations in a scene-stealing performance while the latter offers a clever, eccentric turn on a genre stock character.
Overall, WE GO ON is a genuinely excellent genre film that is scary, bold and incredibly naturalistic in the most refreshing sense possible. Holland & Mitton’s work in this film does not deserve to be overlooked or written-off, and the film is just as sure to please audiences as it is to impress critics. Simply put: WE GO ON is great, and might just be the rare sleeper indie horror surprise that offers substance over style.