‘Brooklyn 45’ Review: Intensely Gripping Period Horror with Stellar Performances.

Brooklyn 45

“Brooklyn 45” is a suspenseful supernatural chamber drama directed by Ted Geoghegan, drawing inspiration from Agatha Christie and “Twelve Angry Men.” The film centers around a group of World War II veterans who find themselves entangled in a séance filled with restless spirits and other threatening forces. With its premiere on the Shudder streaming service and successful festival run, the movie stands out as a well-crafted period piece that reflects on paranoia, xenophobia, and the overreactions often seen in contemporary news.

The story takes place on a cold December evening in 1945, as Lt. Col. Clive “Hock” Hockstatter (played by Larry Fessenden) invites four friends to his brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn. These friends—Marla Sheridan (Anne Ramsay), Bob (Ron E. Rains), Maj. Archie Stanton (Jeremy Holm), and Maj. Paul DiFranco (Ezra Buzzington)—have all been profoundly affected by their wartime experiences.

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Hock, still reeling from the recent suicide of his disturbed wife Susan, hopes to connect with her spirit during the séance. Reluctantly, his friends gather around the table, setting the stage for a series of unsettling events. While the film primarily unfolds within the confines of the locked room, this restriction intensifies the suspense and allows for a deeper exploration of the characters’ flaws and vulnerabilities.

Director Ted Geoghegan successfully creates a stage-like atmosphere, with most of the action taking place in a single location. The cinematography by Robert Patrick Stern, evoking the aesthetics of low-budget ’40s films, and the detailed production design by Sarah Sharp contribute to the film’s immersive period setting.

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As the séance progresses, a late arrival disrupts the gathering. Hildy (Kristina Kleb), a woman with a conspicuous German accent, vehemently denies the accusations that she and her family are Nazi spies. Marla, known for her interrogation skills, puts Hildy’s credibility to the test, yet doubts still linger. The situation worsens when someone inside the parlor transitions from doubt to absolute certainty, leading to unexpected and shocking outcomes.

Without delving into spoiler territory, it is challenging to provide a detailed plot synopsis. However, it is worth noting that “Brooklyn 45” goes beyond typical horror elements, highlighting the real monsters lurking within the flawed human characters and the lasting impact of their past actions. Anne Ramsay delivers a standout performance, but it is another member of the cast who delivers the most surprising and memorable moment, leaving audiences astonished.

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In conclusion, “Brooklyn 45” is a skillfully crafted chamber drama that skillfully combines supernatural elements with astute observations about paranoia and xenophobia. The film’s confined setting and strong performances from the cast create an atmosphere of suspense that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. As the characters grapple with their wartime trauma and personal demons, the story unfolds with unexpected twists and turns, leading to a shocking climax. Through its period setting, the film draws parallels to contemporary issues, reminding us that the monsters we fear may not always be supernatural.