TL;DR – It unravelled a bit at the end, but I enjoyed the ride up till then.
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this film
Ghostbusters: Afterlife Review –
With our next catch-up film, we get to go back to a movie released on New Year’s Day in 2022. I had meant to watch this well before this, but there was a lot of toxicity around the film building up to release, which put me off a bit, and it never worked into the schedule until now. But what failed at Halloween is now ready at Christmas, and it is time to dive in.
So to set the scene, on a stormy night at Shandor Mining Co., a man leads an invisible entity back to his farm. He tries to catch it, but the power fails, and the creature attacks before he can recover. With his death, his farm in Summerville, Oklahoma, reverts to his estranged daughter Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon), who is in financial struggle and moves out there with her daughter Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace) and son Trevor Spengler (Finn Wolfhard). They were hoping to be able to sell the place, but nothing is straightforward, and they have to stay for a while. Things are going okay, but for the daily earthquakes with no source. That is until Phoebe finds her grandfather’s old ghost trap, and she, her friend Podcast (Logan Kim), and teacher Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd) open it up and let out a coming doom.
One thing I really liked about this film was the slow build as things go terribly wrong. We start with the general abandoned nature of the place where they live, then the earthquakes that everyone seems chill with. We slowly discover what was left behind on the farm and a mysterious etching on an old mine wall. Then there is the slow realisation that someone is trying to talk to Phoebe from beyond. Not only does this build set the mood for the film, but it also is used to walk people who might not be familiar with the first Ghostbusters through a lot of the lore and gadget that will be used for the rest of the film. This means that while it might be fifty-odd minutes until we see a ghost in all its glory, you are already well engaged before then.
If the film has one area, that is both its strength and weakness, it is that there is no nuance in any of its characters. Everyone is written to be the extreme version of their character, and it works in some places and not in others. Phoebe is the science nerd, Callie is the jaded single parent, Trevor is the teen trying to be older than he is, Podcast is the weird podcast kid, and Paul Rudd is Paul Rudd. Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd have fantastic chemistry, making the third act a delight in places. However, and this might just be me getting old, a lot of teen drama didn’t add much to the film. But at the core, I have to give full respect to Mckenna Grace for the unenviable job of being the centre point for the film and making that work.
The production design is another strength, and I want to give special credit to the props designers and the location scouts. The rural setting creates a vivid world and juxtaposition to all the weird science elements. Though it does stretch the imagination that a town of that size would have the ability to support a Walmart. It also juxtaposes all the odd Sumerian-ish cult sculptures, and a good idea to cast Olivia Wilde/Shohreh Aghdashloo there. While it would have been nice to see more of them, each ghost brings its own vibe to the film and works in the context of this universe.
If there is one way the film made me pause is in the legacy aspects. On the one hand, seeing all the old tech being brought to life in all the fine detail was a joy. To go with this, seeing some of the ghosts brought into the future was lovely, and the baby marshmallows were a cute addition. I also liked how they incorporated footage of the old film as YouTube clips as if it was documentary footage. Now there will be [SPOILERS] for the rest of this paragraph. However, after all the setup, having the original cast just sweep in and save the day felt underwhelming, almost like it was not an earned reveal. To add to this, using visual effects to bring back an actor that has died as a ghost, look, I can’t say why that didn’t sit well with me, just that it didn’t.
In the end, do we recommend Ghostbusters: Afterlife? Well, while I don’t think the ending landed with me, the rest of the film up to that point was a delight and well worth the watch. If you liked Ghostbusters: Afterlife, we recommend Ghostbusters: Answer the Call.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Directed by – Jason Reitman
Written by – Gil Kenan & Jason Reitman
Based on – Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd & Harold Ramis
Music by – Rob Simonsen
Cinematography by – Eric Steelberg
Edited by – Dana E. Glauberman & Nathan Orloff
Production/Distribution Companies – Columbia Pictures, Bron Creative, Ghost Corps, The Montecito Picture Company, Right of Way Films & Sony
Starring – Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Paul Rudd, J. K. Simmons, Olivia Wilde, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver, Bokeem Woodbine, Marlon Kazadi, Sydney Mae Diaz, Shawn Seward, Billy Bryk, Stella Aykroyd, Bob Gunton, Ivan Reitman, Emma Portner, Josh Gad, Ira Heiden, Sarah Natochenny, Shelby Young & Harold Ramis
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 12; New Zealand: PG; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG-13