‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Is Spooky, Family-Friendly Fun

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is the newest installment in the Ghostbusters franchise. This one follows Callie (Carrie Coon), a single mom and her two children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace). After being evicted, they move to a small town where Callie’s estranged father left them a home. Weird things start happening around the town, and they discover Callie’s father was Egon Spengler, a Ghostbuster in the 80’s. With a murderous deity trying to come back to life, the kids must figure out a way to save the day. 

The movie wasn’t terrible. It had quite a few enjoyable moments, like when Mr. Gruberson (Paul Rudd) and Callie meet, or when Phoebe reveals to Trevor’s crush that he is actually 15. But it was hard to get over some of the movie’s cringey moments. They made Mr. Grooberson so awkward, though it is hard not to fall in love with any character Paul Rudd plays simply because, well, it’s Paul Rudd, the guy is made of charm and charisma. But still, the scene where Mr. Gruberson and Callie go at it while possessed was so cringeworthy. And when Callie kind of hit on and tried to bite a kid while possessed, it was also hard to watch. Phoebe however, was a delight, and her “lame” jokes were actually really great. Podcast, Phoebe’s friend, was also so much fun to watch. Him and Phoebe were, for me, the highlight of the movie.

I also loved the references to the previous movies in the franchise. Though kind of cheesy, the “who you gonna call?” line after Phoebe and Trevor get busted for driving without a license (and destroying half of the town main square) was really cool.

The scene where the original Ghostbusters show up to help, and Phoebe’s granddad helps her defeat Gozer, was really sweet and heartwarming. It was especially moving that they dedicated the movie to the late Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler (Callie’s dad and an original Ghostbuster) and still made an appearance as the ghost of Egon Spengler.

It was a fun movie, but it didn’t blow me away. The plot was uninspiring, though the characters were interesting enough for me to ignore that. The first half of the movie was pretty strong. The characters were likable and engaging, and it was fun to watch the Spenglers get acclimated to the new small town they are staying in. The second half seemed a little rushed and cliche. Gozer (played by Olivia Wilde) didn’t seem very scary and it was hard to take them seriously as a threat. Part of that is probably due to the fact that the ending was predictably happy (I know I probably shouldn’t fault a PG-13 movie for having a PG-13 ending, but there you go). 

I haven’t seen the other Ghostbuster movies, so maybe I would have appreciated it more if I was more familiar with the franchise. If you like Ghostbusters and you are looking for a family-friendly movie to watch, check it out. 

You can watch “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” in the theaters.

By Alice Braga

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