Fantasia Film Festival Movie Review: WE GO ON (2016)

I’m a sucker for supernatural movies.  Give me a good old ghost story or a raging demonic entity and I’m set.  I’ve watched dozens upon dozens of supernatural films and most of the time they fall to the wayside for one reason or another.  When I had the opportunity to review WE GO ON as a part of the Fantasia Film Festival I didn’t expect much but I was nonetheless excited to check it out.  To my surprise, I absolutely fell in love with everything about this film and in a way it touched a part of my soul that I was not prepared for.  WE GO ON is written and directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton and stars Clark Freeman, Annette O’Toole, Jay Dunn, Laura Heisler, and John Glover.

WE GO ON center around Miles (Clark Freeman), an agoraphobic, who is absolutely petrified at the notion that someday he will die. He decides to embark on a mission to find concrete evidence that there is life after death and offers $30,000 to anyone who can show him a ghost, an angel, a demon – anything that proves that our souls carry on after we die.  With the help of his mom (Annette O’Toole) he embarks on a journey through Los Angeles that leads him to places he only thought were possible in his worst nightmares.  I’ve always been fascinated with what happens to us after we die which may be because of my upbringing as well as things I’ve been through in my life.  I think at some point we all question where we go and have that moment of fear that death, like taxes, is unavoidable.

Before I get into why this film had such a profound effect on me let’s get down to the nitty gritty of the movie.  The acting first and foremost was terrific and the characters were completely believable, especially Miles character.  It’s hard not to feel for his character or want to see him succeed in battling his own demons and I’m really happy that the focal point of the film was a character that a lot of us could relate too.  Jay Dunn, who played the mysterious Nelson, was able to play with my heart strings and make me go through several different layers of emotions before I finally concluded on how I really perceived his character.  Lastly, Annette O’Toole portrayed the mother that we all need in our lives and actually reminded me a lot of my own mom.  She was blunt, aggressive, no-nonsense, loving, and caring.  She wanted nothing more than to see her son at peace and would stop at nothing to make sure no one hurt him or took advantage of him along the way.  As for the story, I thought it was flawless.  I loved what Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland created with their film as it not only had moments that were legitimately creepy but it had a concise focus and plot that allowed the viewer to feel emotions other than just fear.

The reason this film affected me so much was because I had gone through something similar to the main character, Miles.  Early on we learn that Miles father died when he was a child, and without going into too much detail about the film, it was very reminiscent to what I had gone through upon learning that my father had died.  There was a moment in the film when Miles turns to his mother asks “Don’t you want to know if there is something after death?  Don’t you want to see dad again?” and that line almost killed me (no pun intended).  People have asked me time and time again why I believe in life after death and I tell them that it’s because I want to believe that I will see those that I love again.  I struggled a lot after my father passed away and it tested my faith in ways I never thought possible but through it all I came out with a deeper understanding of death and a concrete belief that I will see those I have lost once more. WE GO ON brought up a lot of memories for me and though I could think of them as sad, it only solidified my faith and what I believe in.  In the end, this film really touched a special place in my heart and was something I never would have expected.

Overall, I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to see WE GO ON.  To me, it’s a flawless film that has heart, character, scares, horror, and a deep message.  When most people think of horror movies they think of jump scares and cheap thrills but to me, horror movies can do so much more.  They can get under our skin in ways that not many other films can and sometimes open up a part of us that has been closed for quite too long.  For me, WE GO ON was a perfect example of that and I can’t wait to see what else Andy Mitton and Jesse Holland come up with in the future.

Shannon McGrew
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