Not all filmmakers are prolific. In fact, quite a few create an exciting debut and then suddenly disappear (seemingly) off the face of the Earth. To a large extent, this was the case with Eric Bress. In 2004, he released his first film, The Butterfly Effect. It was critically maligned but commercially successful. However, in retrospect, it was certainly much better than it was given credit for at the time. Since then, he’s been largely absent from cinema. Until now. Sixteen years later Bress returns with his second film, Ghosts of War.
During World War II, five US soldiers are ordered to relieve a squad who have been commanded to hold a castle. This building was previously a headquarters for Nazi high command. On the face of it, it seems like a cushy number. However, when their comrades can’t wait to leave, they begin to smell a rat. This foreboding only increases when strange occurrences begin to happen in the mansion. They may not be alone after all.
Ghosts of War harks back to the mix of horror and war/military which worked so well in the likes of Dog Soldiers and Deathwatch. Bress does a great job of building up the tension and imbuing the house with its own creepy persona; even if the set-ups are a little hit and miss. However, it seems to run out of steam towards the end, with the final action sequence feeling incongruously rushed and rapidly cut. And then, Ghosts of War does something entirely unlikely….
Ghosts of War is released on Digital by Vertigo Releasing on 17 July.