Netflix UK film review: Ghosts of War
James R | On 22, Jul 2020
Director: Eric Bress
Cast: Brenton Thwaites, Skylar Astin, Theo Rossi, Kyle Gallner, Alan Ritchson, Billy Zane
Watch Ghosts of War online in the UK: Netflix UK / Apple TV (iTunes) / Rakuten TV / Google Play / Sky Store
Stop us when you’ve heard this before. A group of soldiers in World War II hole up in an empty house in the middle of France. Then, spooky things start to happen. It sounds like your typical war-set horror and you’d be right – mostly. Because while Ghosts of War does have some interesting ideas floating beneath its generic surface, they emerge too late to make any memorable ripples.
Eric Bress writes and directs this grimy B-movie, and, for the most part, seems happy to play by the rules – a shame for someone who’s contributed to the enjoyably inventive Final Destination franchise. He introduces us to his gaggle of American troopers, led by Chris (Brenton Thwaites), who all fall into their archetypal roles a little too neatly. The solid cast bring some guts and gusto to events, selling the bond between the troops – Luke Cage’s Theo Rossi and Pitch Perfect’s Skylar Astin, and Kyle Gallner are particular standouts – but they don’t much to do, beyond being spooked by escalating ghouls and jump-scares.
Are the nighttime bumps, ghostly children and other strange goings-on all just PTSD-induced hallucinations? Or are they being haunted by the family murdered their by Nazis? A cameo from Billy Zane offers a surprising answer, but by that time, the battle for your interest will mostly have been lost – in the fight to decide what kind of tale to tell, Ghosts of War aims too much for the former and not enough for the latter.
Ghosts of War is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.