Ghosts of War Review (2020)

My History With the Film:
I saw the trailer of Ghosts of War in the summer of 2020 and instantly it shot up the list of my most anticipated films of the year. It’s a ghost story set during World War II which is right up my alley. I am also a fan of Brenton Thwaites in Titans and Skylar Astin in Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.

Ghosts of War hit Netflix in late 2020 and I finally got around to watching it in early 2021. The trailer was amazing, the movie not so much.

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A group of soldiers find themselves in a house that is being attacked by ghosts and Nazis.

What I Liked About It:
-This truly is a movie of two halves: the first half is a ghost story and the second half… well more on that under What I Didn’t Like. The ghost story is great and reminded me a lot of the late 90’s/early 2000’s Dark Castle features. The ghosts are creepy, the jump scares solid, and there is an unsettling vibe about the setting.

-I admire the director’s restraint when it comes to CGI. This type of low budget affair is usually sprinkled with low budget CGI, but not in this film. The CGI is rather limited to small objects which allows the viewer to stay immersed in this period piece. Although, I can think of two scenes where the CGI got a little out of hand.

-The cast was decent, with no amazing performances to mention. Alan Ritchson, who also stars in Titans, is a member of the squad. They all feel diverse enough to be believable as a military unit.

-There was one great jump scare that really got me. I’m pretty immune to a lot of them, but this film had one moment that just caught me off guard which I loved.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The second half of this movie is crap. The screenwriter obviously didn’t have faith in a traditional ghost story and instead decided to pull a Twilight Zone ending. I love the Twilight Zone and love a good twist, but this twist should have been restricted to the short film that this film was based on or some shorter form of visual story telling like a television anthology show. Instead, the film has a dramatic tonal shift that totally destroys the haunting illusion and arguably the horror they were enduring.

-Billy Zane is a name that ends up in a lot of low budget fodder because his name has some recognition and this movie is no exception. He brought nothing to the table and I wish they would have left him out.

-The cast of a ghost story typically make some dumb mistakes and this film is no different, except this time its soldiers and it’s clear that anyone with basic common sense/military experience would realize certain actions were unrealistic or ridiculous.

Additional Notes:
-Director Eric Bress’ first feature film since 2004 The Butterfly Effect.

-Although the film takes place in France, it was shot in Bulgaria.

-Based on a 2010 short film of the same name.

Ghosts of War starts off with some great potential and slowly ruins it by the end. I truly wish the filmmaker would have had the guts to stick with the ghost story, but instead the film goes off the rails and it all left a sour taste in my mouth. Sadly, because of how the twist happens I cannot recommend this movie. Ghosts of War is a two out of five and I say skip it.



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