«Brooklyn 45» : Are you ready to move on?


On Friday 9th on this June, you will have the chance to see on Shudder «Brooklyn 45», the new film directed and written by Ted Geoghegan («We Are Still Here» and «Mohawk»).

«Brooklyn 45» brings us the story of a group of friends that served and survived WWII, just a few months after returning home, they gather to bring moral support for one of their own, the Colonel Clive «Hock» Hockstatter, who has recently lost Susan, his wife, in a very tragic manner.

Hock, who clearly is loosing his battle with the loneliness and despair, convinces his friends Marla, Arch and Paul DiFranco (and Marla’s husband Bob) to humor him and perform a seance, in a effort to find closure or at least have some proof of an afterlife.

Contrary of we might expect, the seance actually works. All too well in fact.

And that is when the trouble starts.

Very quickly Marla and his friends (ok, also her husband) discover that they are now locked in Hock’s parlor, and a supernatural force won’t let them go home until one of them spills the blood of someone in that room that could (or not) be responsible of Susan’s death.

Secrets will be revealed, loyalties will be questioned and friendships will be tested.

Full Disclosure : I am big fan of Ted Geoghegan’s two previous films «We Are Still Here» and «Mohawk» (the first one being my favorite), but I tried my best to put that aside and judge this new project for itself.

Fortunately, I can say without any guilt that I found «Brooklyn 45» to be a very good film and I highly recommend it, but is also a film that you might need to see twice to fully appreciate the strong emotional punch that carries.

To be honest, I was afraid to see yet another take on the films about a seance gone wrong where an evil entity («the wrong one») comes from beyond and torture our main cast for days, but this is a very different story. This is a story where the evil ghosts were already there with our protagonists, long before this dreadful night and apparently they just needed a locked room to start to destroy the friendship and bond that until that night, seemed indestructible.

But don’t worry, there are also other entities from beyond that will come for vengeance, although we could argue that their presence might be just the excuse needed for someone in the room to bring forth his anger toward everyone that can be deemed as «The Enemy» and justify his actions by doing «the right thing» or «Just doing his duty».

One of the strongest points of «Brooklyn 45» is the acting of the cast; I was immediately sold on the premise that Marla, Arch, Di Santo and Hock were old friends and they survived the hells of the war in part thanks to that bond, which also made it stronger, and since Bob (Marla’s husband) spend that time in a desk job for the government was (to put it nicely) to the males of this group an outsider.

I enjoyed very much the initial 15 minutes or so (before we go to the seance) with the group chatting and catching up, which made the later scenes when things go BAD all more powerful and gut-wrenching. I though the characters were very well written and with so little dialogue I felt I knew this people, or at the beginning at least, not so much when the smiles faded and the darkness started to fall.

The movie has some very scary moments, although I would not consider this a very scary film, the special effects are very good and felt a little… Vintage? Old School? that worked great for the time and style the story is going for. I loved that the movie did not relied on cheap jump scares (you know, those that you can see a mile away?) and actually took its time to create real tension, frustration and dread. Like I said: good writing and even better acting!

Now, I normally do not point out this kind of things on characters, but I think in this case is worth mentioning, so bear with me and hear me out ; There is a character in this group of friends that is gay (not a spoiler, is mentioned very early in the movie). What I loved about this character was that his sexual preference is not used as his «Calling card», is a PART of the character, a character that is way more complex and interesting that really got me more and more invested in his arc as the film went on.

I really liked how as opposed to TONS of recent films, his sexual preference was not a gimmick or was used as a «Superpower», as in «his unique and only characteristic» and therefore I HAVE to like him, like I said before, he has a LOT more stuff going on. Although the fact that he is gay is mentioned at the beginning and is used for a couple of set ups, the subject gets dropped later one completely, Why? Because this character is way more than a quota, and his actions were what made him the person his friends respect and even love.

The same can be said of Marla’s character; in my view she is a strong, capable woman despite (or maybe even DUE) an injury suffered in the war, yet she is loving, compassionate and at no moment she is belittling her companions just for being males (and we find out that she actually has good reasons to not rely on some of them!). She even defends her husband from her friends when they keep pointing out his lack of war experience (and also put him in his place when needed).

There is a scene when Marla needs to do something she clearly dislikes and was famous for (I won’t go into details), and you can clearly see her face turn very stern (think of it as «War mode») a 180 Degrees from the lovely person we have seen so far, and yet at moments we can catch a glimpse of her sadness for having to «do it one more time» … Again, great acting.

By the way, Just because I am praising those two actors do not think the rest of the cast are any less talented: you know you can’t go wrong with Larry Fessenden.. and Ezra Buzzington as DiFranco? Priceless. Top Notch all around.

Let me be a nerd for a second, I liked how film starts in Black in White and turns to color, BUT I loved how the screen was 4:3 ratio (as in TV «full screen» mode) and during a very subtle one-shot the screens slowly «opens up» to wide screen mode. (We also see the reverse at the end).

Now, there is something that somehow did not fully click with me, and it’s in the final act. There is someone that for me, does something very out of character. I cannot say more due possible spoilers, but after you watch the film (and I strongly recommend you watch it) you will know what I mean, and please feel free to drop me a tweet @zedkosnar and let me know if it worked for you. While I can see the «why»..q. I felt it ….off?

The ending is somewhat bitter-sweet and although I think is fitting, it kept me wondering about the future of the ones left in the end, and how they will cope with the horrors that they saw in the war and the ones that they saw that night. It is clear that for some, the war was never over.

(I wanted to end the review with THE phrase of the film, but I could not figure out how.. Sorry)

(but let’s play a drinking game with it, let’s see how far we can go!)

The film will be available in Shudder on Friday June 9th, 2023. The film was directed and written by Ted Geoghegan and has the talents of Anne Ramsay, Ron E Rains, Jeremy Holm, Ezra Buzzington, Larry Fessenden and more.


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