Movie Review: There are some solid performances in Ted Geoghegan’s Brooklyn 45, but the film fails to build tension or any meaningful scares.
Brooklyn 45 is the latest movie to be released on Shudder, this time after a film festival premiere at SXSW in March. It’s the latest in an underwhelming list of recent movies for the streaming service, one that I hoped would buck the current quality trend that has me worried for the genre.
Brooklyn 45 is a pulpy film; one that I couldn’t quite wrap my arms around and embrace. Although the cast largely corrals the script they’re given, the tone never feels fully realized, resulting in a movie that’s tough to take seriously. While aspects may work, they never ultimately tie together into a satisfying and worthwhile watch.
This is in large part because it’s hard to comprehend whether Brooklyn 45 is supposed to be campy or self-serious. The marketing materials suggest the former, with the poster donning cartoony and ghoulish genre tropes and the cast offering some peculiar facial expressions, while the summary suggests the latter.
The movie works as a chamber piece as five military veterans come together on an icy evening in 1945 to support one of their friends. The get-together quickly turns into a séance, where each member of the group will have to reckon with the ghosts of their past, as well as the troubling feeling that new ones may arise.
It’s hard to sandwich this premise together with this tone and conjure a tightknit viewing experience. The situation and setting grow old fast, relying even more on the performers to move around the space and keep the material fresh. Brooklyn 45 stars Anne Ramsay, who comes away from the movie looking the best. She carries much of the runtime because she has worthy screen presence and enough time to develop her character into her own.
The rest of the technical elements here feel either obvious or underdeveloped, like the aspect ratio calling back to the 1940s or the quippy dialogue begging for any sort of resonance or impact. It all just moves without feeling ambitious or new.
Brooklyn 45 adds to the long string of underwhelming original movies for Shudder in 2023. Just a few days ago, I wrote about Children of the Corn being a real turning point for the streamer. Thankfully, Brooklyn 45 doesn’t stoop as low as that film, but it certainly doesn’t feel inspiring for the brand. It’s the sort of film you drop to fill hourly quotas, not to line your own pockets. I guess that makes it somewhat of an on-brand project for the studio this year.
Stream Brooklyn 45 on Shudder
Read reviews for movies like Brooklyn 45 from A Cinephile’s Corner
Film Cast and Crew
Anne Ramsay as Marla Sheridan
Ezra Buzzington as Paul DiFranco
Jeremy Holm as Archibald Stanton
Larry Fessenden as Clive Hockstatter
Ron E. Rains as Bob Sheridan
Kristina Klebe as Hildegard Baumann
Director: Ted Geoghegan
Writer: Ted Geoghegan
Cinematography: Robert Patrick Stern
Editor: Lisa Hendricks
Brooklyn 45 movie on Letterboxd
Brooklyn 45 movie on IMDb