It’s the kind of narrative leap that can make or break a film. But here it overcomplicates a narrative that should’ve better developed its basic elements, rather than lunging for a big-picture profundity it falls short of. Beautifully atmospheric to a point, handsomely produced, “Ghosts” gradually disappoints because its thematic ambitions add more clutter than depth to a story that’s most effective at its simplest.
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Combining war and horror movie tropes in an awkward manner more silly than scary, this belated sophomore feature from writer/director Eric Bress (2004's The Butterfly Effect) makes you long for the days when American G.I.s didn't have to fight supernatural beings as well as German soldiers.
It’s through these actors that we see how their characters process their pain above and below the façade created and understand why they’re incapable of looking beyond their tragic wealth of regret.
This effort is similarly infuriating and entertaining by turns, and features pretty good performances from a handful of up-and-coming young male actors, including Brenton Thwaites and Kyle Gallner, along with lovable old ham Billy Zane putting in a last-act cameo.
One of Bress’ greatest strokes comes with casting — he’s collected five faces you might recognize from younger, more innocent roles, and who are compelling to see here as men who have matured rapidly due to the wartime experiences eating away at them.
The film’s unreflective earnestness is haunting in all the wrong ways.
It’s a mediocre mash-up of genres that leaves no cliche unspoken, no horror trope unturned.
The smartest thing Eric Bress did in Ghosts of War was to cast Billy Zane, and the dumbest thing he did was keeping Billy Zane off screen for 90% of the movie.