Set in 1944 in France, World War II is coming to an end. Ghosts of War follows five American Soldiers who are traveling to their new assignment. Their assignment is to go to a large mansion and stand guard, replacing the previous American soldiers who were watching over the estate. Upon arriving, the mansion looks quite large, neat, and stunning. Upon entering the five soldiers discover the previous team watching the place could not be more eager to leave. Our new soldiers are slightly suspicious as to why these men are acting weird.
But as the new team begin to take over managing the large mansion and settle in, they begin to discover some very unusual activity and possibly a supernatural presence within the mansion walls. Now, these trained men must battle an enemy that seems more terrifying than anything they have encountered in a war zone.
The opening and setup of this film is fantastic and I genuinely found it to be fun. We witness the soldiers traveling through a battlefield and even encountering a few threats along the way. But it is the skills and relationship our five soldiers have with each other that was the best to watch. It was great to get some character development early in the film too.
As our leading characters enter the house and attempt to fulfill their orders, it’s not long until many bizarre elements began to occur and I started having questions as an audience member about where this film was taking me. The soldiers see things, have accidents and hear strange noises within the mansion. The sound mixing for Ghost of Wars is top shelf and downright fun to hear. I also noticed stunning effects in my rear speakers which were even noticeable during quiet moments.
The director of this film, Eric Bress, only has one other directional credit to his resume- the unique dramatic film, The Butterfly Effect (2004). Ghosts of War is undoubtedly classed as a horror film more than a war film. Unfortunately for the horror aspect of this film, we are greeted with several jump scare attempts. These have been edited to add loud noises at the same time- something which did not enhance the jump scare. I did not find this film horrific nor did I ever jump out of my seat. What kept me going with this film during the first and second acts were the story and the mysterious way this film lays the story out.
While I found the film’s concept and elements, including the soundtrack, pleasing, the film plot left me feeling disappointed. I heavily invested in this film during the first act, but the third act left me feeling saddened. The final act only includes a few significant reveals and big risks were taken here. As the film ended, I was curious if the film had an alternate ending which is never a good thought to have when credits are rolling down the screen.
Overall, Ghosts of War certainly delivers a great concept, and a new style of horror film. The film began with a solid opening and followed with a great second act. The film held my interest early on with impressive visuals and more importantly, a stunning audio track. But I am saddened to say this film took significant risks which did not quite win me over based on the investment required. Horror fans should most definitely check this one out even if it leaves you feeling somewhat divided as to your opinion.
Ghosts of War (2020) is Now Available on DVD