Brooklyn 45 Review

There is a moment in Brooklyn 45 when a character says the following lines “It’s easy to create an enemy. All you need are slanty eyes, different color skin, or an accent. But it’s always better if they speak a different tongue, isn’t it? It must be easier to kill someone if you can’t understand their cries for help… But when was the last time you killed someone who could tell you their husband’s name or their children’s favorite radio show?” as she finishes speaking these lines, you start to realize that the horror in the movie is not the supernatural but the people in the room themselves. Sometimes monsters are not ghosts or supernatural beings. Sometimes they are the ones that we see when we look at ourselves in the mirror.

Brooklyn 45 takes place a few days after Christmas with five World War II veterans getting together after a tragic event. The crew consists of the suave and debonair Archibald Stanton (Jeremy Holm). The pencil pusher, Bob Sheridan (Ron E. Rains). The hard-as-nails tough guy, Paul DiFranco (Ezra Buzzington), and the most feared interrogator, Marla Sheridan (Anne Ramsay).

Jeremy Holm as Archibald Stanton in Ted Geoghegan’s BROOKLYN 45. Photo by Robert Patrick Stern. © 2022, Shudder.

The crew is brought together to comfort their friend, Clive Hockstetter (Larry Fessenden) after the death of his wife. Hockstetter’s wife committed suicide after no one would believe her that her neighbors were Nazi spies. Her belief that they were spying in her neighborhood drove her crazy and she did the only thing that she could. Due to her suicide, Hockstetter warms his friends up with some small talk and drinks before dropping the real reason for this get-together. Hockstetter tells the group that he wants to do a seance to see if his wife is not in hell. Since suicide is considered a sin he wants to make sure she is not in the other place.

After some prodding and a few more drinks, the crew decide to go along with Clive and do the seance. We do get a message from the other side and the door of a nearby closet starts rattling while Clive tries to talk to his deceased wife. The knocking on the door causes the other members of the team to release their hands and break the circle around the table. Clive tells them that the seance has not ended due to the open circle and they need to complete it. The fear that has surrounded them from what they witnessed prevents them from wanting to complete the seance but things only get worse from here.

The ghosts inform the group that they will not be able to leave unless the Nazi in the room is killed. This is where Ted Geoghegan’s script grabs you by your shirt. You can cut the tension in the room with a knife as the group starts to question the motives of Clive. The way the camera stays on the group as they debate what is the right thing to do pulls you into the room. The group starts turning on each other and little by little their truths are being revealed. We learn how the men feel about Bob marrying Maria and blaming him for her position. We learn about the horrors that Archibald is being accused of. As a closeted soldier, Archibald has more to hide than most but if the stories are true about what he is being accused of, his military career can be over.

Jeremy Holm as Archibald Stanton, Ron E. Rains as Bob Sheridan, Ezra Buzzington as Paul DiFranco, and Anne Ramsay as Marla Sheridan in Ted Geoghegan’s BROOKLYN 45. Photo by Robert Patrick Stern. © 2022, Shudder.

Within all of this madness we see the true colors of Paul Difranco as he is ready to kill the Nazi to get out of the room. Paul is the living version of the phrase “I will do anything for my country.” He is ready to kill to get out of the room and not listen to those he fought with to find another way out. Paul’s character is the portal that shows the viewers that monsters are not always dead creatures that come from the ground. In these tense moments, Paul is the epitome of evil!

The entire movie, minus the beginning and ending, take place in Clive’s den. The group is trapped in here until they complete the task that is given to them. With the constant arguments between the group, we the viewers, are at the edge of our seat to see what is going to happen next. Brooklyn 45 has such a great pace that you do not feel that you are trapped in a room. The entire cast of the movie is phenomenal and it would be amazing to see them do this movie live. I could see this as a play performed on Broadway due to the singular setting of the entire story. It is also this setting that adds to the tension and claustrophobic blanket that is covering this room.

As I stated in the beginning of this piece, sometimes the monsters are not supernatural beings but the people themselves. Brooklyn 45 shows us what happens to soldiers who no longer have a mission or enemies to fight. What happens to their mindset and how do they adapt to the normal world. Some can easily adapt, but others fall prey to the violence that is inside of them. Within a snap of a finger they can go back into that mode but is that a good thing. By the end of Brooklyn 45, you know more about this group than you did at the beginning of the movie. Due to this new knowledge you may ask yourself; are these good people who have gone bad or bad people who have gone good?

Final Thoughts: Brooklyn 45 is suspenseful and will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final scene. The tension in the room is thick in the air and the social commentary is the cherry on top. The acting from the cast is phenomenal and pulls you into the room with them. This is one that should not be missed!

Kid-Friendly: I would recommend this one for kids 16 and older. The topics of the horrors that men can do in wars might be too much for younger kids. Older kids can learn about how hatred destroys a person and their beliefs about what is right and wrong.

Violence: There are some scenes of violence involving a gun to the head and a pretty intense interrogation scene. Resurrected people talking might scare some kids and there is plenty of cursing.

Brooklyn 45 premiered during the Chicago Critics Film Festival and is streaming on Shudder.

Friday, December 27, 1945. Five military veterans gather in the ornate parlor of a Brooklyn brownstone. Best friends since childhood, they’ve reunited to support their troubled host – but when his invitation for cocktails turns into an impromptu séance, the metaphoric ghosts of their past become all-too-literal. Trapped in their host’s lounge, the Greatest Generation now finds themselves put to one final test…with their only route to freedom being more bloodshed.

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