Ghosts of War Movie Review

"Excuse me, waiter - I ordered a scary movie...?"

The first and last words spoken in writer/director Eric Bress's "Ghost of War" are, "What do you want?" Based on the movie's title, poster, and trailer, what you wanted when you selected this movie was a gripping haunted house ghost story curiously set during WWII. And that is exactly what you get, and more, for most of the film: the acting, pacing, camerawork, set design, backstory, and strong character development are expertly packaged together with great craft. Eric Bress deserves a lot of credit for his thorough understanding of how all of these genre elements can work together. Slamming doors, mysterious footsteps, self-extinguishing candles, glass-eyed antique dolls, metamorphosing photographs, and jump scares may be by now too familiar haunted house clichés, but as used by Bress they still effectively provide the chills, tension, and goosebumps the viewer expects.
"Ghosts of War" tells the story of five soldiers with a clear mission: hold down a country estate previously occupied by Nazis until further notice. We learn that this reconnaissance team are already brutal Nazi killers, having seen them ambushing a Nazi convoy and swiftly executing would-be survivors. But an act that initially appears sadistic - removing the dead Nazis' gold teeth with a bowie knife - is transformed into something sympathetic, and such moments elevate this narrative above the standard horror fare where the characters' only function is to get killed by the movie's "monster."

The hasty and nervous departure of the previous guard team sets the tone that all is not well within the occupied estate's walls. As we learn more about the soldiers through their exploration of the mansion, we also learn how their experiences are becoming personally entwined with the hauntings and evil presence in the house. Scares are counterbalanced with character development, so we can see the increasing stress of the five soldiers who are already dealing with the grim realities of killing enemies, unexpected death, and coping with interpersonal tensions resulting from being a group of strangers brought together by chance.

As the origin of the mansion's evil is shrewdly revealed, albeit with a few unnecessary jump scares, the pace quickens at the start of the third act. Unfortunately, at this point what was established and anticipated for most of the film quickly changes. Like a new expositional character showing up out of nowhere at the conclusion of a mediocre mystery story, information previously kept from the audience is now a priority. As we get closer to understanding the nature of the hauntings, the prior backstory is suddenly revised and now requires a new set of rules and actions which (avoiding spoilers here) transforms into a genre-jumping narrative whose intended clever revelation is more jarring than rewarding.

Upon a second viewing, it becomes clear that many clues about the third act, including a bold subliminal visual, are ingeniously provided. But to the first-time viewer, these subtleties seem more like inconsistencies instead of ideas that serve as well placed puzzle pieces pointing to a satisfying end result. For example, the viewer is expected to make a connection with a reappearing character who previously had less than 20 seconds of screen time more than an hour earlier.

Ultimately, "What do you want?" becomes, "That's not really what I wanted." After an hour of well-calculated scares, the reveal of the house's evil origins comes across like a hastily read run-on sentence with too many pronouns and endless commas. Before this even has a chance to sink in, the "Now that you know" exposition pulls off its mask to reveal a "We're not done with you yet!" conclusion underneath. To continue this review's food metaphor opening: After several courses of this expertly prepared and enjoyable fare, the dessert choices offered are less tempting in comparison. It turns out that watching "Ghosts of War" is sort of like finishing a four-course feast of Indian cuisine with three servings of crumb cake and an Irish coffee: it's fine, but it doesn't hit the spot.

"Ghosts of War" debuts July 17 via virtual cinema screenings and on demand.

View the original article here
Share on Google Plus

About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Ghosts of War Movie Review Ghosts of War Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Sunday, July 19, 2020 Rating: 5


Post a Comment