Saturday, November 20

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Review

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Dir: Jason Reitman

Starring: Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Celeste O'Conner, Logan Kim, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd

2h 4m


"Who you gonna call?" 


The cultural impact of Ivan Reitman's 1984 film "Ghostbusters" continues to display its influential grasp every year since its release. The repertory cinemas arranging screenings every Halloween, the hard to escape Ray Parker Jr. theme at parties, costumes with glowing proton packs, and the franchise's reboot with a female influence in 2016; "Ghostbusters" is undeniably a pop culture icon. 


Ivan Reitman, director of the original and sequel, created a not-so-scary film about ghosts with major crossover comedy appeal for audiences. Both of these films were met with mixed critical reactions. The reboot in 2016, directed by Paul Feig, gathered a group of hilarious women and placed them in a movie that had the simple goal of being an entertaining nostalgic revisit. The film received unnecessary hate from numerous regions of the internet. 


While the cards are stacked against "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," new director Jason Reitman takes the Ghostbuster's motto of "no job too big" and fashions an entertaining, kid-centric film that is also a loving tribute to his father, Ivan Reitman. Focusing solely on the original film as a jumping point for future events, Jason Reitman takes the ghostbusting out of the big city, transposes it into a small town, and hands the responsibility to a group of young people. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" wears its heart on its sleeve proudly.


Egon Spengler, no longer known as a Ghostbuster but rather "the dirt farmer" in the small Oklahoma town where he lives a secluded life, is attacked and killed by an indiscernible entity. Callie (Carrie Coon), Egon's estranged daughter, struggles financially and decides to take her two kids to the farm to sort out the mysterious affairs left unresolved by her father. Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), the oldest of the siblings, is a teenager who finds work and a crush at the local diner. Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), an intelligent and curious 12-year-old, finds a fast friend named Podcast (Logan Kim) and begins to unravel the true nature of her grandfather's past. 


The town experiences small earthquakes and strange occurrences happening in the local abandoned mines. These disturbances catch the attention of Phoebe and her summer school teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd). Once Phoebe begins investigating the unusual tremors and her grandfather's cryptic home, she discovers an evil force preparing its return to the world. 

 The introduction of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" composes the most horror elements of the entire film; a chase scene with an unseen presence, lots of camera atmosphere, and a fun combination of scenarios help build the tension. An excellent introduction for a budding horror movie fan who might not be ready for more intense PG-13 horror films. The remainder of the film is less scary and more action and comedy-focused, featuring an eclectic group of characters committedly played by an ensemble of talented actors. 


The young actors bring the charm and heart out of "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." Mckenna Grace is a highlight as Phoebe; she imbues the character with the same dry wit and staunch composure as Harold Ramis playing Egon. Finn Wolfhard is also good, playing the committed and trustworthy older brother. Logan Kim, playing a humorous podcaster named Podcast, has terrific chemistry with every character on screen. The relationship between Phoebe and Podcast is the foundation for the film. 


The narrative brings pieces of the original film back into the frame while also developing some unique alterations and twists for new audiences. The story is a heartfelt attempt to pay homage to the original movie and redevelop the themes for a new generation. There are a few pacing issues with the film, which makes the final act feel a little rushed in the scheme of the story. But most of these issues go unnoticed because of the engaging cast and Jason Reitman's assured direction. 


"Ghostbusters: Afterlife" is a fun rehash of the original "Ghostbusters" film, utilizing young people to lead the charge. While it may not have the most engaging story to tell at times, it has a ton of heart and great humor. Jason Reitman has done a diligent job of updating this pop culture sensation for new audiences. 


Monte's Rating

3.50 out of 5.00

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