Ghosts of War (2020) Review

Releasing on Netflix a day too late to really cash in on the Halloween spirit, this WW2 horror fails to be more than average. And the ending is…odd.

Certificate: 18

Director: Eric Bress

Screenwriter: Eric Bress

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Kyle Gallner, Alan Ritchson

Genre: Horror, War

Runtime: 94 Minutes

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Follows five battle-hardened American soldiers assigned to hold a French Chateau near the end of World War II. Formerly occupied by the Nazi high command, this unexpected respite quickly descends into madness when they encounter a supernatural enemy far more terrifying than anything seen on the battlefield. – From IMDB

A great premise and a creepy atmosphere can go a long way to making even the most average of Horror movies at least worthy of a little praise.  And that is what we have here, a story that has a lot of promise, and a bleak and eerie atmosphere almost right from the very beginning, but as the film goes on, things start to get a little…weird and then you get hit with the ending and…lets just say it’s a doozy and get back to it later.  A great shame as the performances by our ensembled cast is actually pretty good, even if they do rely heavily on some pretty generic character architypes. 

Had the developers left the film as a World War 2 horror film, and resisted the urge to throw a spanner in the works, then they may have been onto a winner.  The haunting scenes in the mansion, though not original by any means, were still suitably creepy and had a good deal of decent jump scares.  The setting was beautiful and the cinematography at times was stunning to look at.  So we had all the bases for a really solid, if generic horror film. 

I liked that the journal kept changing, I liked that we knew that something was off but we didn’t know what. It kept me engaged and interested the whole time waiting to see what they uncovered next.  And while sometimes, a huge twist at the end of film like this can really ramp up the shock factor and the audiences enjoyment, here the shock ending was really just…ridiculous.

I guess there were a few minor clues along the way that things weren’t what they appeared to be and so by the end you are expecting a twist.  But trust me, you won’t see it coming at all and when you do, you will fall into one of two camps.  You will either see the total 180 as a fantastic and jaw dropping way to end the film, cliff-hanger and all.  Or like the majority of people I have seen, you will find it completely ridiculous, disjointed and the final shot will leave you feeling like the whole film was completely pointless as it clearly made no difference at all.

This film wasted it’s great performances on an average story and completely unfathomable ending.  Fans of horror films may want to give it a watch as the majority of the film is passable, but just remember, I did warn you about that ending.

‘Ghosts of War’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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