Review: Ted Geoghegan’s ‘Brooklyn 45’

Brooklyn 45 Review - 2023 Ted Geoghegan Movie Film on Shudder

Vague Visages’ Brooklyn 45 review contains minor spoilers. Ted Geoghegan’s 2023 movie stars Anne Ramsay, Ron E. Rains and Jeremy Holm. Check out the VV home page for more film reviews, along with cast/character summaries, streaming guides and complete soundtrack song listings.


Fun! Fun! Fun! Brooklyn 45, written and directed by the American multi-hyphenate Ted Geoghegan, wants the audience to slap those knees while keeping an eye on xenophobic military veterans living in post-World War II New York. The players: indie maverick Larry Fessenden as a poor man’s Jack Nicholson (Lt. Col. Clive Hockstatter), Ron E. Rains as a mystery man (Bob Sheridan), Jeremy Holm as a gay gent (Mjr. Archibald Stanton) with a not-so-good reputation and Ezra Buzzington as the no-nonsense Mjr. Paul DiFranco. Together, the soldiers muse about peace and war as the past infiltrates a BK residence on December 28, 1945. A chamber piece such as Brooklyn 45 could play by established genre rules; however, Geoghegan stays true to himself as a filmmaker by balancing history and smart dialogue with a modest amount of gags.

Brooklyn 45 takes aim at Hildegard Baumann (Kristina Klebe), Clive’s German neighbor who knew his late wife, Susan (Lucy Carapetyan), and could potentially be a Nazi spy. Geoghegan mostly avoids retroactive moral judgments on the 40s-era characters but points out how xenophobic remarks become normalized in American households. Meaning, we all know plenty of old folks who talk about foreigners like Minnesota Vikings fans talk about “Cheeseheads” from Green Bay, and vice versa. Call it the “other team” effect in 40s America. In Brooklyn 45, it’s the United States vs. the world, and THE WAR IS NOT OVER. The character development pops from the jump, and the overall artistry is significantly better than Geoghegan’s first two flicks, We Are Still Here (2015) and Mohawk (2017). Fans of recent campy productions like Malignant (2021) will have fun as the filmmaker dims the lighting and allows spirits to interact with chest-thumping men from The Greatest Generation.

Brooklyn 45 Review: Related — Soundtracks of Cinema: ‘Malignant’

Brooklyn 45 Review - 2023 Ted Geoghegan Movie Film on Shudder

Brooklyn 45 glides easy thanks to tight editing (Lisa Hendricks), polished sound design (Nick Caza) and some seriously impressive performances (everybody). As Bob, Rains navigates the room like a Nervous Nellie — which is crucial for the collective character developement — whereas Ezra seemingly channels Col. Nathan R. Jessep (portrayed by the aforementioned Nicholson) from A Few Good Men (1992). Buzzington takes the cake with his big reactions and side-eye drama, almost like he symbolizes the audience’s confusion as shit gets wild. The actor is a true pro who takes advantage of every scenario, always finding a way to stand out. Geoghegan’s characters are so clearly defined that the vibrant mise-en-scène complements their personalities. One doesn’t need to be a life-long horror enthusiast to appreciate all the little things. Brooklyn 45 is a film about 40s Americana and the human condition — it’s not a genre flick that works from a checklist for fan service, though Geoghegan does indeed go hard via an almost-detached fingernail and body horror that will please admirers of David Cronenberg’s Scanners (1981).

Brooklyn 45 Review: Related — Know the Cast & Characters: ‘Crimes of the Future’

Brooklyn 45 Review - 2023 Ted Geoghegan Movie Film on Shudder

Brooklyn 45 is what happens when an experienced filmmaker finds their voice and brings everything together. We Are Still Here and Mohawk do indeed kick ass, but there are some obvious pacing issues — which is sometimes what happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen. In contrast, Brooklyn 45 is a cohesive, lively and confident piece of filmmaking. Buckle up and have fun, Shudder subscribers. And remember that people living in post-World War II America didn’t have the luxury of knowing how the world would change over the next 80 years.

Shudder released Brooklyn 45 on June 9, 2023.

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.

Brooklyn 45 Review: Related — Know the Cast: ‘Sleepaway Camp’