Ghosts of War (2020)

A group of American soldiers sets up in a French mansion during the war as their post for a short period. Once in there, things take a turn and they have a new enemy to content with.

Written and directed by Eric Bress, Ghosts of War takes the war film and adds supernatural elements to it, something seen many times before and done fairly well here. The film has a good grasp of adding surprise elements to its story here and there, giving a bit of fun and some scare scattered throughout. The story is a bit basic, but it works until the last 20 minutes or so where, to this viewer, it screws the pooch and just messes up everything it has previously established. That bit of storytelling there just shows a wanting to get out of the story the easy way or not knowing where to go with it. It feels off and it feels like it doesn’t belong with the rest of the film. The first section of the film works fairly well and it makes the film be something interesting in the least. That switch later on feels off and messy, breaking up the story in a way that may just not have been necessary.

The cast does good work here no matter what is going on with the story and the script. Leading the cast is Brenton Thwaites as Chris who does really good work with his character, giving him dimension and emotion. His work is the one that most will keep watching because he really grabs the attention and doesn’t let it go when he’s on screen. Playing a secondary character in the group is Theo Rossi as Kirk and he first grabs the attention by grossly scratching his foot with a fork and then he does work that is on point for his character and he manages to keep the attention even against Thwaites. The rest of the main cast is good, but they have characters that come off as okay, but they don’t really make much in terms of differentiating their performances. This means they are all good, but they don’t necessarily come up from the group.

One of the major pluses of Ghosts of War is how it looks. The film is visually beautiful when it needs to be, it shows what is happening in the dark scenes, and it’s not afraid to be a bit bold at times with its visual choices. The cinematography by Lorenzo Senatore is great to look at, it gives the film depth visually and something to root all the action into. The work here is not simple given that a great majority of the scenes are either barely lit or in the dark. His work here is great.

Ghosts of War has some great scenes here and there with story that works until the last part of it that feels like it’s there to mess up the film, which of course was not the goal, but it’s what it does. The performances are good with a few stand outs and the cinematography pulls the viewer in and helps keep the interest. The supernatural elements are okay, not particularly surprising or scary if one watches a lot of these types of films. Overall, it’s a good film, but not great. It has a few great scenes peppered throughout and a couple of scares, so it works okay.