I had such high hopes for this movie. It came out of nowhere and after I couldn’t commit to Gundala, an Indonesian superhero movie, it seemed like a perfect choice. I knew a couple of things about it and those things were enough for me. Just give me WWII and occult and I am fucking in. I guess that Hellboy remains the best movie with this theme with Overlord coming in dangerously close. However, Ghosts of War is a misfire, a movie that tries to do too many things at once and just falls apart in the final third. But that beginning though…
Right from the start, we saw glorious gore, an interesting story and a couple of good actors. Starring Brenton Thwaites (The Giver, The Signal, Son of a Gun) and Theo Rossi who is still Juice from Sons of Anarchy, at least for me, the cast did their best with the given script. Written and directed by Eric Bress best known for the Final Destination movies and The Butterfly Effect, Ghosts of War barely made it over the line. Beautifully and competently shot, it is visually stunning, especially when you consider its obviously small budget.
I love giving these indie horrors a chance, a chance they more often than not take. Within the opening ten minutes you can figure out if the movie is going to be worth your time. And, more importantly, if you’re in the right mood for something like that. Sometimes you just want something playing in the background
Five American soldiers find themselves in quite the pickle when they’re ordered to guard an old castle behind enemy lines during WWII. The guys they’re replacing were in quite a hurry to get out of there. They were even sleeping in the basement and the yard, afraid of something. The new guys don’t seem to think that there’s a problem here. But they will soon find out there is.
There’s something inherently creepy about old castles or mansions. They seem haunted even if they’re perfectly fine. Well, I guess, if you believe in haunted houses, which I don’t. But I’m perfectly willing to suspend my beliefs here and there. Add to this an intense atmosphere of Second World War and good character development and you got yourself quite a setup. The problems started in the second half of the movie with disjointed storytelling that became increasingly crazy right until the end.
I won’t tell you just what actually happens because it might make this already flawed movie even flawer. And I know that’s not an actual word, but I think it might be appropriate for Ghosts of War. In the end, if you’re a fan of horror movies, especially movies with ghosts, you might want to check it out. Just keep your expectations low. And if you’re looking to continue in the same direction with Nazis and the occult, you can check out Outpost franchise, Dead Snow franchise and finally Town Creek. Have fun. And don’t forget to give these small movies a chance. Who knows, they might even surprise you.
Director: Eric Bress
Writer: Eric Bress
Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Theo Rossi, Kyle Gallner, Skylar Astin, Alan Ritchson, Billy Zane
Fun Facts: This is the first film Eric Bress directed since The Butterfly Effect (2004).