Is there such a thing as a good war?  After World War I, the Allies left Germany in a state of defeat and despair. Consequently, one man used the disheartened people to build a nation of fanatics. They followed him into another war that would throw the world into chaos. As the Germans struggled to restore their national identity, did they believe they were fighting a good war against their oppressors?  And did the Allies, those nations that rose against Germany’s aggression, feel ennobled by their mission to save the world from the dark shadow of Germany’s genocidal dictatorship? What were the lasting effects of such passions on those who fought?

Ted Geoghegan’s 2023 post-World War II supernatural thriller Brooklyn 45 looks at the psychological effects of war on those who fought.  Moreover, the film starts in the safest of safe spaces, home. In an evening’s seance, Geoghegan explores how the “good war” impacted six survivors with a script that he and his late father Michael, who was a WWII veteran, co-wrote. The movie takes place on Christmas Eve, 1945, in the Brooklyn home of Lt. Col. Clive Hockstatter (Larry Fessenden). Recently widowed, he gathers his friends for a seance to contact his dead wife (Lucy Carapetyan).


Brooklyn 45

The movie explores the moral ambiguity of war, and how it can blur the lines between good and evil. Even though they committed terrible acts during the war, Hockstatter and his friends believed they were justified because the war called for them.  Those actions come to light when the living world and spirit realm collide, leaving them trapped in between. The only way out is to murder Hilde (Kristina Klebe), a German immigrant hidden in the closet. While the characters argue about her fate, they bring their own war crimes to light.

One thing Geoghan and his father’s script for Brooklyn 45 shows is how war can lead to moral relativism. Simply put, moral relativism means that because they were fighting on the right side of the war, there would be few consequences for their actions. Leading the charge to kill the suspected spy is ultra-patriotic Major Paul DiFranco (Ezra Buzzington). However, his xenophobic, jingoistic rants about serving America are an attempt to hide his self-loathing.  Whether she is a German mole or not, he has no qualms about killing her because, to him, she is a foreigner.  Likewise, his friend, Major Archibald Stanton (Jeremy Holm), who struggles with guilt for his crimes during the war and being a homosexual, is willing to kill her to hide his crimes. Stanton’s rationalization for the atrocity was that he was following orders. Ironically, Nazi officials on trial for war crimes used the same defense during the Nuremberg Trials. Hence, “just following orders” would become known as the Nuremberg Defense. 


Also present is Marla Sheridan (Anne Ramsey), the top interrogator for the OSS.  Because the men value her skills, she tortures Hilde in an attempt to prove her innocence.  Rounding out the exceptional cast is Marla’s husband Bob (Ron E. Rains), who served at the Pentagon during the war. Belittled by the other men for serving at home instead of at the front in battle, he becomes the emotional fulcrum that swings the fate of the cast.

In this taut, real-time, single-scene supernatural thriller, writer and director Ted Geoghegan takes his talented cast on a journey into the Hells they thought they had escaped. Geoghegan allows his characters’ interactions and personal histories to create a hair-raising and intense horror story in the living room of a post-war brownstone in Brooklyn, New York. Along the way, the characters explore complex topics such as the ethics of torture, moral relativism, the price of xenophobia and jingoism, duty versus personal responsibility, and bereavement. For fans of well-done psychological thrillers with a healthy touch of supernatural elements, Brooklyn 45 is a must-see thriller that will keep audiences as captivated as its characters.


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Brooklyn 45 is available to watch here.*

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