Brooklyn 45 (2023) Ending Explained: Do the group escape the haunted room?

Brooklyn 45 Plot Summary

Currently streaming on Shudder is Brooklyn 45, a new movie from Ted Geoghegan, the director of such acclaimed horror flicks as Mohawk and We Are Still Here.

The movie is set in Brooklyn 1945 and it focuses on a group of military veterans who gather together to support their friend Clive who has recently lost his wife Susan to suicide.

After gathering at their friend’s home, they discover they aren’t only there to console their buddy. He wants them to join him in a seance so he can make contact with his wife in the afterlife. They reluctantly agree but after opening the door to the spectral realm, they are unable to open the door of Clive’s apartment to make their escape from the horrors they have unleashed.

Do they escape the haunted room? Or do they remain trapped in that room with the ghost they have awakened?

Let’s take a closer look at the movie.

How does the movie begin?

At the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to Marla (Anne Ramsey) and her husband Bob (Ron E. Rains) who have just arrived at their friend Clive’s apartment. As they prepare to go in, they are joined by Archibald (Jeremy Holm), an old buddy of Marla’s that her husband loathes.

When Clive (Larry Fessenden) welcomes them into his apartment, we are introduced to Paul (Ezra Buzzington), another of the group’s friends and somebody they all know from their army days.

As the group assemble, we learn more about them. We find out Marla was a top interrogator who, according to Clive, “tortured more secrets outta the Krauts than any woman in US History.”  Paul and Clive were generals. Archibald was a lieutenant. And Bob was the only person in the group who didn’t have a position in the army. This latter fact seems to repel Paul who considers Bob to be a weakling.

After they exchange greetings, Clive talks about his late wife and the reason why she killed herself. He tells them of her belief that their neighbours were German spies and that nobody (not even Clive) believed her story. This lack of trust from others caused her to become paranoid and she killed herself as a consequence.

After her death, Clive became filled with grief and remorse. It’s his wish to see her again and to do this, he has gathered his friends together so they can hold a seance.

What happens at the seance?

Some of the group are sceptical about the afterlife but they soon change their minds when the seance begins. Closet doors start banging, a ghostly hand reaches out from the table, and Clive throws up some kind of white stuff – I’m going to call it spectral fluid – before his wife starts communicating through him.

After these strange happenings, panic sets in and the group let go of one another’s hands. This was something Clive had forbidden them to do – by breaking the circle they leave the doors to the afterlife open, he had warned – although it’s actually Clive and Paul who break the circle first.

The group discuss what happened and whether the person who spoke through Clive was really his late wife. This discussion ends when Clive pulls out a gun and shoots himself in the head. This surprises his house guests but the reason behind his suicide is obvious – after getting evidence that the afterlife is real, he killed himself to be with his wife!

Some of the group try to leave the room but they discover the room door has been locked by Clive. At this moment, the closet door opens and a new person joins this less than happy ensemble!

Who comes out of the closet?

It’s Clive’s German neighbour who has been bound and gagged. She was trying to push her way out of the closet previously – hence the loud noises – and has only just forced the closet door open.

The woman’s name is Hildegard (Kristina Klebe) and we find out Clive had been holding her hostage so his friend Paul could finish her off. Killing her is something Paul wants to do as like Clive’s wife, he is sure that she must be a German spy.

Hildegard proclaims her innocence and tells the group Clive’s wife was a lunatic for believing that she might be working for the Nazis. Thankfully, not everybody in the room wants to kill her so her life is spared – for now!

Why are they trapped in the room?

Paul reveals that Clive didn’t want anybody to leave until Hildegard was dead. As Paul was tasked with the job, he now has the keys. He refuses to hand them over and threatens to expose Archibald’s past as a war criminal if Paul’s final wish isn’t met.

As Paul’s claim that Hildegard is a spy is in doubt, Marla decides to get the truth from her using the interrogation skills she used in the army. As part of the interrogation, she uses a pin as a torture instrument and inserts it beneath Hildegard’s fingernail. The pain is excruciating for Hildegard but she sticks to her story. As a consequence, Marla decides she must be telling the truth.

Paul is eventually convinced to open the door but when he puts the key in the lock, it mysteriously disappears. As such, they have no way to leave the room.

At this point, Clive starts to talk (despite being dead) and orders them to kill Hildegard. Only then will the door be opened.

Does anybody escape the haunted room?

Marla tells the group there is a way to escape without killing Hildegard. She instructs everyone to hold another seance. This way, they can close the circle again, send Clive and his wife back to the spirit world, and close the door to the afterlife.

Unfortunately, Marla’s plan is interrupted by Susan who isn’t ready to leave until Hildegard is dead. Does she get her wish? Sadly, yes! But it’s not Paul who pulls the trigger but Bob who first shoots Paul dead during a confrontation and then kills Hildegard. The fact that Bob killed them both is a surprise – he was previously seen as a coward and a weakling – but in the end, he was the one who secured their escape.

Bob, Marla, and Archibald are able to escape the room and at the end of the film, the two men promise to take responsibility for their actions. For Bob, this means owning up to the people he killed in the room and for Archibald, this means owning up to the crimes he committed during the war.

They may have escaped the ghosts in Clive’s apartment but the trio will still be haunted by the events that happened in the room. Marla and Archibald will also be haunted by the ghosts of their past – the people that they hurt, who will remain forever in their minds.

We know this because Archibald was previously confronted by a vision of the children he had killed in the war when trying to escape the room. And we know Marla is still haunted by what she has done because she replies “Says who” to Bob when he tells her at the end of the film that the war is over.


Read More: Brooklyn 45 Review

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