top of page

FILM REVIEW: Brooklyn 45 (2023)

Brooklyn 45 - New Release Review

Director: Ted Geoghegan

Starring: Anne Ramsey, Ron E. Rains, Jeremy Holm, Larry Fessenden

Written by: Ted Geoghegan

Produced by: Seth Caplan, Emily Gotto, Michael Paszt, Pasha Patriki, Sarah Sharp

Cinematography by: Robert Patrick Stern

Original Score by: Blitz//Berlin


Five military veterans, best friends since childhood, gather together to support their troubled host, and the metaphoric ghosts of their past become all-too-literal.


Whilst the likes of 'Evil Dead Rise' and 'The Boogeyman' are currently terrifying cinema audiences worldwide with blood, carnage and jump scares galore (not that those are bad things), Ted Geoghegan returns to the director's chair with the low key supernatural horror 'Brooklyn 45'. Set a few months after the end of World War II the film in its simplest terms is about an impromptu séance gone wrong. Whilst this sounds like a set up we have seen so many times before with the most recent notable outing in the subgenre being the found footage hit 'Host' from 2020, Geoghegan's thematic and character driven approach separates it from others.

Set almost entirely in the brownstone apartment of war veteran Clive (played by Larry Fessenden) the film takes a real time approach as the group of friends affected by the war in different ways reunite to catch up. Clive asks them to take part in a séance in which they indulge him but what ensues afterwards is an Agatha Christie style mystery brimming with paranoia and accusations as the group bring their past into the light. Whilst there is a healthy dose of gore and a dollop of gross out goop 'Brooklyn 45' is very much a film that focuses on tension more than terror. The subtle approach employed by Geoghegan in these moments works incredibly well as you are drawn into each character's tics and motivations keeping you on your toes at all times.

The sound design also works incredibly well at heightening the tension as the crackle of the fire makes the silence between the increasingly confrontational exchanges feel almost deafening. Even the impressive production design (which works really well at capturing the period) is incredible at racking up the tension in the film, as the sickly green walls of the room feel oppressive and add a layer of claustrophobia to the situation the characters find themselves trapped in. The understated score from musical trio Blitz//Berlin also adds a sense of mystery to the film, particularly in the wake of the séance.

Thematically the film is very much about post war guilt in how the invisible scars of war are made visible through the group's growing fear after the séance. Their grief is processed in a variety of different ways making each character feel uniquely interesting which is a credit to Geoghegan's fine script. The revelation behind a hidden character draws out the xenophobia of the characters (who act like a microcosm of America at the time) which only grows as their situation becomes more desperate. Geoghegan handles it incredibly well making it feel as relevant now as it was during the time the film is set.

As for the characters, the cast assembled are terrific across the board as their chemistry doesn't make you doubt for a second that they are all old friends. Marla (played by Anne Ramsey), a feared interrogator who is the only character to bear physical wounds from the war and her husband Bob (played by Ron E. Rains), a seemingly mild mannered clerk who works at the Pentagon, are the first two characters we are introduced to and both actors do a great job in their respective roles as being the voice of reason in the room when everything starts to fall apart.

The recently widowed Lieutenant Colonel Clive is played extremely well by Larry Fessenden as he throws himself into the grief stricken role bearing the characters black and blue heart in his facial expressions. Jeremy Holm probably has the most difficult role out of everyone as Major Archibald, a war hero who is accused of war crimes. He plays it with ease as his commanding and playful demeanour is slowly eroded away as the night progresses. The last of the friends is the forthright Major Paul, (played by Ezra Buzzington) who carries a militaristic presence throughout to a fault as the war has not truly ended for him. You can see the conflict in Buzzington's eyes even when they are clouded by xenophobia which is a real credit to his performance. Rounding out the cast is Kristina Klebe as Clive's German neighbour Hildegard who pleads her innocence but Hildegard's performance teases some doubt making her an intriguing addition to the cast.

In short 'Brooklyn 45' is a finely crafted film about grief, trauma and the secrets that dwell just beneath the surface of us all. It is a film that will satisfy fans of low key, character driven horror films that lean heavily on tension and mystery. At times it does feel like a stage or radio play but that is only a minor criticism as the terrific acting and technical work behind the camera go a long way to hold the audience's attention.

Verdict: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

- Joseph McElroy

'Brooklyn 45' is currently available to stream exclusively on Shudder

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page