Following on from their rural Gothic horror YellowBrickRoad (2010), We Go On is the sophomore offering from writer-director duo Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton. It tells of Miles Grissom (Clark Freeman), a young man with a crippling fear of death who places an advertisement offering a large sum of money to whoever can help him prove the existence of an afterlife. With the help of his feisty mother Charlotte (Annette O’Toole), he narrows down the offers of help he receives to three possible candidates: a scientist, a medium, and a philosophical entrepreneur.
The fascinating central premise of We Go On — a person seeking proof of the afterlife, and the terrifying discoveries he makes — strongly evokes The Twilight Zone. Holland and Mitton’s focused script ensures an insular, intimate atmosphere, and for a time, maintains an element of ambiguity that prompts the viewer to question Miles’ sanity. His plight resembles that of the undead: alive but not living, a semi-spectral hermit existing on the periphery of society. During his investigation he crosses paths with several other lonely, marginalised characters motivated by pain and existential crises. From here the film begins to chart the sinister, paranoia-inducing idea of a malevolent spirit latching onto and haunting an individual — explored before in titles such as Shutter (2004), The Entity (1982) and Insidious (2010) — which is developed intriguingly and deploys some creepy imagery.
We Go On is a thoughtful film that considers big ideas through the plight of everyday people, and touches on ideas regarding predestination and free will before maturing into a full-blown meditation on the bonds of friendship and family. Strong performances help keep the characters grounded and believable, particularly O’Toole, who is especially effective as Miles’ overprotective mother. The careful pacing and meditative tone may not appeal to everyone, but viewers seeking ghostly, contemplative chills should find much to appreciate.
23 February 2017