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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Review: Ghosts of War

Director: Eric Bress

Screenplay: Eric Bress

Year: 2020

“Ghosts of War” is one of the movies that almost went under my radar. When I noticed this movie, it was only available in a streaming service to which I'm not subscribed to and after a while, I forgot about it. It wasn't until it landed on Netflix that I was reminded by Damon, the mastermind behind Slasher, the social media app for horror fans, that it got back to my radar and gave it a go. 

The movie’s plot follows five North American soldiers located in France in the middle of World War II. The five soldiers arrive at an old abandoned mansion, which they must protect until their relief comes. In the mansion, the soldiers encounter a supernatural force much more frightening than their war enemies. 

The group of soldiers interpreted by Brenton Thwaites (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales), Kyle Gallner (“American Sniper”), Alan Ritchson (“Hunger Games: Catching Fire”), Theo Rossi (“Sons of Anarchy”), and Skylar Astin (“Pitch Perfect”) arrives at the mansion, where they meet another group of soldiers that protected the place, and that seems relieved to be able to get out of there as fast as they can. The outgoing soldiers’ reaction is the first signal of something being out of place in the house, and its presence doesn’t take long to be felt. During the first night the soldiers spend in the house, they start hearing noises and experiencing supernatural events. 

The cinematography and the atmosphere are two things that quickly stand out in “Ghosts of War”. As soon as the soldiers arrive at the house, it feels imposing and the atmosphere oppressive, which gets denser and denser as the movie progresses. The beautiful cinematography supports the atmosphere, showing through its clever composition every detail and dark corner that carries the message of something sinister roaming around the place. The visuals are only affected by a weak CGI that ends up being a hindrance instead of a benefit. 

The plot of “Ghosts of War”, written by Eric Bress (“The Butterfly Effect”) , who also directs, is another great success of the movie. Although there are moments in which some actions don’t make much sense and are only included in virtue of placing a jump scare, the movie’s plot is captivating and knows how to keep its secret until the last moment. What seems to be a simple haunted house story increasingly tangles until the viewer is not sure of what’s happening. Near the end, everything is surprisingly revealed, and every detail from the script ties up precisely. The ending could have done some things better but it is a great ending nonetheless. 

“Ghosts of War” is a crude representation of war and trauma that ties up to a haunted house story. This combination offers consequential crude visuals from the violence in wars and frightening moments in the house that joins an interesting plot to produce a great horror movie. What seems to be a simple story becomes complicated to the extent where the viewer doesn’t know what’s happening or how it will end, later getting surprised by the unexpected ending.

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