Ghosts of War

Movie review by
Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media
Ghosts of War Movie Poster Image
WWII haunted house story has violence, gore, and swearing.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 94 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Some positive examples of teamwork. Sexist and racist behavior is depicted.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Soldiers work together to help each other, but their attitudes to foreigners and women are outdated. They occasionally use racist slurs and refer to women as sex objects. They also kill unarmed assailants rather than take them prisoner.

Violence

Characters are shot at point-blank range and have their throats slit, causing blood spray and death. Other characters are bludgeoned to death with metal bars, with blood spraying from their wounds. A dead soldier's gold tooth is prised from their mouth with a knife. Wartime weapons such as pistols and rifles shown and used throughout. References to torture include conversations about a character's tongue being cut out and legs being cut off. Broken fingers. Limbs blown off and severe burns caused by explosive blasts. Characters burned alive. Other characters hanged and drowned. Several fight scenes where characters are dragged across floors. Supernatural events and demonic ghouls provide plenty of jump scares. Characters have nightmares that depict their own deaths.

Sex

Character looks at topless photos in a pornographic magazine. References to female genitalia and "cat houses" (slang for brothels). Sexually transmitted infections referred to as "the clap."

Language

Language used includes "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "whore," "s--thead," "motherf--ker," "old hag," and "goddamn." "Jesus" is used as an exclamation. Ethnic slurs frequently used, including "Jerries" for Germans and "Japs" for Japanese. A racist slur about Asian women's genitalia being "sideways."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink brandy with a meal. Characters smoke cigarettes occasionally, and at one point a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Ghosts of War is a World War Two violent horror about five soldiers protecting a French Chateau previously occupied by Nazi leaders. It quickly becomes clear that the house is haunted, and so they must fight off both opposing Nazi soldiers and the ghosts that inhabit the building. Graphic violence features throughout, as wartime battles and set pieces play out involving guns, knives, and explosives. Several gruesome deaths are shown, inflicted variously by shooting, stabbing, burning, hanging, and drowning. There are also plenty of jump scares and ghoulish demons. These are mostly telegraphed with creepy music and ominous sound effects. Drinking is shown with meals -- but not to excess -- while multiple characters also smoke. Topless women appear in 1940s pornographic magazines, and there is some discussion between the soldiers about their desire for sex with prostitutes. There are a number of ethnic and racial slurs used in the movie. Germans are called "Jerries" and the Japanese "Japs." The soldiers also refer to Asian women's genitalia as being "sideways." There is frequent strong language including "motherf--ker" and "whore." Post-traumatic shock is a prominent theme, with the soldiers often having nightmares that picture their own deaths, before waking up startled and disorientated.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythefklosestheass July 15, 2020

More like a weaving war story with some horror.

PG-13: Some horror images, intense war moments and violence and some language
Adult Written byreadyornot...BOO July 15, 2020

Haunted tale about war

More for people who are ready for a horror/war tale. This creep the hell out of me. This movie had some horror scares. I highly suggest older/mature viewers. Gh... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byClorox bleach August 22, 2020

Not good

Not a good movie

What's the story?

GHOSTS OF WAR follows a squad of U.S. soldiers during World War Two as their mission across Nazi-occupied France leads them to an empty Chateau that must be protected. As they wait for back-up, they must deal with a series of conflicts and unsettling supernatural events.

Is it any good?

With its interesting set-up -- a cross between a period war movie and a horror story -- this delivers more bumps in the night that it does genuine scares. This isn't a bad thing in itself, but it is haunted by various weaknesses. For a start, the main characters are a bunch of sub-Inglourious Basterds whose first interaction with their enemy is to fight and kill defenseless Nazi soldiers disarmed by a bomb blast. As a result, they're not a sympathetic bunch and there's little to differentiate them from one another, either.

Once inside the Chateau, its claustrophobic setting and unusual goings on do build suspense and mystery. But we're left to selected readings of various books by Skylar Astin's character, Eugene, to provide hints at what might be going on. This makes for uneven and awkward dialogue throughout, as bigger and bigger hints are dropped that all is not as it seems. It also results in Ghosts of War's twist being delivered with all the subtlety of one of its grisly murders. Solid performances and decent special effects make it watchable, but this isn't a haunted house story to write home about.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ghosts of War's violence. What's the difference between the violence committed by the soldiers and by the movie's supernatural forces? How did it affect you? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How scary is the movie? Why? What scared you the most? What's the appeal of scary movies?

  • Discuss the World War II backdrop? How much do you know about WWII? Why were U.S. soldiers fighting in Nazi-occupied France in 1944? 

  • Talk about the language used in the movie. The soldiers use various racial slurs throughout the movie. Discuss the impact of this type of language. How white parents can use media to raise anti-racist kids.

  • How does the plot twist change the rest of the movie? Were you expecting it? Would you watch the movie again despite knowing the ending?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scares

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