Ghosts of War
Tomorrow my apartment complex is hosting a trick-or-treating event and let me tell you, Tampa really gets into Halloween! I love it! When we take walks there are so many cool displays that it gets you super excited for trick-or-treating. Here's hoping the candy they give out is as good as their decorations! Anyways, today's movie is...
Ghosts of War (2020)
A group of battle-hardened American soldiers in World War II are marching through France as the war is nearing the conclusion, but still very much active. They come across a group of Germans driving around and blow their Jeep to Hell. What comes next was difficult to watch. The Americans casually execute the survivors, one of the soldiers starts cutting out the gold teeth of a dead man and another challenges one of the surviving German soldiers to a fist fight. It's silly, but the, "You serious, bro?" reactions from the German soldier are pretty funny. But when the American, Butchie, starts to lose, the CO just shoots the other soldier in the head.
At this point, I'm not understanding if they're the heroes or not. Like, I get their nazis but this is our first look at the group and the first thing we get from them is a war crime. It's just weird. But the violence gets juxtaposed with compassion a scene later. On the march they come across a group of Jews who look like they had just escaped a concentration camp. The man who ripped out the teeth, Tabbert, gives a mother and her son the Nazi jacket he looted as well as the gold teeth and a patch to sell. It's a touching moment especially contrasted with the violence just minutes prior.
The group of five have orders to babysit a French chateau until they are relieved. The men are blown away by the accommodations, especially considering where they've been sleeping while on the march. They can't get too excited though, because the men currently guarding the place are all sleeping in the entrance way despite the place having like 30 rooms. Then they practically sprint out of there the first chance they get. They're in such a rush to get out one of the soldiers leaves his rucksack behind.
Eventually spooky things start happening and then they run afoul of a Nazi company. A firefight ensues and ghosts get involved and I'm blown away. This movie combines history, war, and ghosts better than I've ever seen before! Ghost of War even manages to throw in an excellent chilling monologue from Tabbert that's so good. What he talks about is so sad, then chilling, then back to sad and the actor kills it! It's easily one of the best speeches I've seen in a long time. If you look up anything from this movie, I highly suggest trying to find that scene. It's definitely worth a watch. All you need to know is Tabbert is the one in the group that gets the most side eyes from his companions and the one they all kind of fear.
Once the Nazi attack finishes, the ghosts start kicking it up another level. It's clear they're pissed and they're not letting the soldiers leave the home. It's really cool and creates tons of tense scenes. It also has plenty of jump scares, but it's not an annoying amount and most of them are earned. And the mood surrounding the whole movie is genuinely creepy. It plays around with shadows and silhouettes a lot making for tons of spooky moments.
You may be thinking, 'Man, I'll bet this movie is going to get a bunch of Dr. Chainsaws!' Well... it doesn't so much stumble at the finish line, it stops right before and breaks its legs and lies in a heap. You get a huge cliche that made me roll my eyes, but the movie rolls with it. You start to learn more and then the always-welcome Billy Zane saunters in. I love when he shows up in random horror movies. The twist is kind of interesting, if not played out, but it starts to salvage itself and some things from earlier start to make sense. It surprised me because of it was pretty clever. I was actually starting to come around on the twist and wanted to see it get resolved. But then the very end happened and I hated it.
It's weird because it's very good for so long but the terrible ending just erases all the goodwill from earlier. The first twist, while annoying and completely nonsensical when you actually think about it, could have been OK, but the very end was just so frustrating. Then to top it off, it just ends! The movie is right around 90 minutes, which is a good length for horror, but my goodness did this one need another 30 minutes to fix everything it broke