Available to stream on Shudder Network
In Brooklyn 45, a movie set after the end of World War II, four lifelong friends’ desire to communicate with the other side is led by one individual (Larry Fessenden) who believed his wife was killed. Perhaps they should’ve been careful in entertaining an old fool.
What they summoned would become the stuff of nightmares, and this frightful whodunit has the makings of a perfect Lovecraftian style of dread. We’re not dealing with cosmic entities here. Instead, it’s in what sordid histories get unearthed and how one deals with the truth! What these friends (played by Anne Ramsay, Ron E. Rains, Jeremy Holm, and Ezra Buzzington) discover about each other that night is certainly a life changer.
The motion picture is excellent at playing up what the early days of spiritualism (1840s) was about. In the big cities like New York and even London, wanting to communicate with the other side was a fashionable thing to do. When The Fox Sisters from Rochester claimed they cracked the code back in the early days of this movement, interest became widespread. It was supposed to help the living have one last chance to talk to loved ones, find out if there were things to resolve and sometimes help both sides move on.
But at the same time, it’s possible to unearth dirty secrets. What this film brilliantly reveals is the xenophobia that existed. Part of it was due to the war. The screenplay by writer-director Ted Geoghegan plays up this sentiment, and I can imagine the film working as a live theatrical presentation too! The set design is beautiful and it isn’t too hard to recreate on stage. As for the blood and guts spilt, it would changed up to have lighting effects fill in the gaps.
Ultimately, Brooklyn 45 is less about the bloodshed. It’s more concerned about how to escape the past. I liked how Geoghegan kept me guessing about who is unwilling to change their ways. As for whether certain survivors are braver after their attempt to communicate with phantoms, it seems the lingering effects is the reason some ghost stories work and others don’t.
4 Stars out of 5