Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans

BROOKLYN 45 ****


Directed by Ted Geoghegan.
Starring Anne Ramsey, Larry Fessenden, Ezra Buzzington, Ron E. Rains, Jeremy Holm.
Horror, US, 92 minutes.


Available on Shudder from 9th June.


As the temperature rises into another summer season, what better way to retreat from the heat than with this wintry period ghost story. Ted Geoghegan’s BROOKLYN 45 takes place at Christmas in its titular year with a group of friends reuniting after their wartime exploits. This reunion, however, takes a turn for the worst when bereaved host Clive convinces his friends to hold a séance in order to contact his recently deceased wife. Things do not go as well as hoped, like every single séance committed in the history of motion pictures, and the small group soon find themselves confronted with the literal ghosts of their pasts. The spiritual reckoning soon takes another turn as more horrifying events and secrets emerge.


This is very much an old-fashioned chamber piece that feels fresh and challenging with its approach to tackling the attitudes of its multi-faceted characters. The film takes a long, hard and honest look at the past, especially the prejudices of its multi-layered characters in a non-judgmental way that simultaneously never lets them off the hook. Geoghegan’s script, with considerable input from his father, a disabled air force veteran, does an excellent job of displaying these biases, some of which come from the conflict they have gone through and some of which more troublingly may come from something more ingrained within themselves.


While comparisons can be made to political divisions happening across the globe today, Geoghegan never lets such commentary turn into an out-and-out polemic. Without going into spoilers, the way the plot and the mysteries at the heart of it develop help to keep the audience fully engrossed. It helps that Geoghegan has at his disposal an immensely talented cast, some of whom will be more than familiar to fans of the independent horror scene. Each member, whether it’s Larry Fessenden as the grief-stricken Clive, the imposing Jeremy Holm as Archibald, a gregarious Major who makes no bones of his sexuality but hides a shame for something else. Anne Ramsey makes the biggest impression with her performance of Marla, a former “interrogator” whose quiet manner is at odds with her fearsome interpretation.


This is a tightly controlled piece of work that would work equally well on a stage, but Geoghegan knows how to hold the viewers' attention throughout with some neat visual trickery and by balancing the political, personal and supernatural elements in sync throughout. The incisive societal commentary slots along perfectly with the old-fashioned ghost story at the heart of the film, making this Geoghegan’s most accomplished film yet.


Iain MacLeod.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
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