Following the first hit “Ghosbusters,” which came out in 1984, the newest addition to the saga didn’t disappoint. As expected, it turned out to be a goofier twist to the original. In order to keep audiences engaged, the writers knew the newest installment had to ramp things up: and it did.
What started off as an innocuous chess game between a girl and her grandfather’s ghost, quickly catapults into a full-blown, disastrous adventure. This story is set several decades after the original, and picks up where we left Egon Spengler — one of the original ghostbusters — as his family uncovers his past, following his sinister death. Immediately, the film sets up the premise for the story: single mother Callie Spengler brings her two children, Phoebe and Trevor, to a secluded, not-at-all-creepy desecrated farm home after her father’s death.
The plot begins to unravel, as things start to go wrong. As expected, they end up unleashing the ghosts that were so carefully preserved and tucked away during the ‘80s, wreaking havoc on the small town they recently moved to. This setting captured the classic essence of the basic coming of age story, showing off the fitting landscape which consisted of cornfields, and fluorescent-lit rollerskate diners.
As we start to meet more interesting characters residing in the town, I found myself enjoying the found family aspect. At first, the story is fractured, both Spengler siblings acclimate to the town differently, and I loved the dichotomy of their stories as they navigate challenges separately. Phoebe meets Podcast, a ghost-hunting sweet boy who immediately latches onto the brewing mystery, along with her summer school teacher, who only aids their shenanigans. Played by Paul Rudd, he was the comic relief we needed, adding moments of hilarity and bonding with the Spengler family.
Continuously, the older brother’s story was entertaining as he begins a love story of his own, however, his arc took a backseat and the focus was more on the younger sister. Eventually, things converge as they all meet together to vanquish the ghosts. This was full of dumb, quippy jokes, and satisfied my need for a feel-good, tropey movie. With that being said, the script was almost a comedy of errors: how many bad decisions can one family make?
One thing that I was doubtful of coming into the movie was how it would connect to the original, and whether it would even make sense within the timeline. After watching it, I think the writers did a good job of plausibility, and had enough references to the first “Ghostbusters” — including several cameos — that made it so much more satisfying and nostalgic to watch.
Although there were many funny ghost interactions followed by engaging action sequences where they pursued the spirits around town, some jokes fell flat and felt intended for a younger audience. This is understandable, but after a while it began to veer into the cornier territory. In order to make this live up to the original, the creators of the film filled the ending with flashy, overdone effects and overall cringiness. It was still entertaining, but didn’t fit the rest of the film. When Callie became possessed by an evil ghost and proceeded to flirt awkwardly with Paul Rudd’s character, that’s when I knew I couldn’t give this five stars.
Overall, I would recommend this to any “Ghostbusters” fans, but I would warn them that this is a modern reboot, so it gives off a completely different vibe than the original, and may be a let down for those who don’t want to stray too far from the first installment.
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife”: ★★★★☆