Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)

ghostbusters afterlife poster 2021 movie
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting : 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Decent story and good cast

Dangerously treads the line between nostalgia and something original

Movie Info

Movie Name: Ghostbusters:  Afterlife

Studio:  Columbia Pictures/BRON Studios/Ghostcorps

Genre(s): Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s): October 8, 2021 (New York Comic Con)/November 19, 2021 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

ghostbusters afterlife podcast phoebe logan kim mckenna grace

I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

Callie Spengler (Carrie Coon) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace) find themselves evicted and on the road to Summerville, Oklahoma where Callie’s father recently died.  Phoebe and Trevor quickly find that things strange in Summerville and that their grandfather’s past might not be as simple as their mother had painted it.  When a spiritual well in the heart of an abandoned mine comes to life, Gozer could walk the Earth again…and the only thing that might stop them is a new bunch of Ghostbuster led by Phoebe and Trevor and their friends Podcast (Logan Kim) and Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor)!

Directed by Jason Reitman, Ghostbuster:  Afterlife is a supernatural horror comedy.  Following the relaunch film Ghostbusters in 2016, Ghostbusters:  Afterlife is a direct sequel to Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989).  After a delayed release due to COVID-19, the film was released in 2021 to mixed to positive reviews.

ghostbusters afterlife muncher ghost

Muncher says “Screw you, Slimer!”

I was not on board with Ghostbusters 2016 movie.  It had a good cast that was horribly misused in a rather unfunny and unmemorable relaunch which was highly divisive among viewers (people who didn’t like the film were sometimes labeled as anti-feminist which was tricky because there definitely were people in that category who didn’t like the film).  Ghostbusters:  Afterlife set to balance the books amongst fans and create a window for a new franchise…and for the most part it succeeds.  Due to some plot aspects, a ******spoiler alert****** exists for the rest of the review.

Nostalgia can be considered bad or good and Ghostbusters:  Afterlife treads the line.  It has a lot of fan service with returns of the classic cast and even references to the popular cartoon series and toys that followed the original movies.  Despite heavy nostalgia which serves as the bedrock of this movie, the new cast is strong enough and given enough a story to make their own characters and not just be “the kid Ghostbusters”.  It also solidly ties back into the original film through Ivo Shandor who was the architect who brought about the events of the original film.

ghostbusters afterlife vinz clortho demon dog paul rudd

Are you the Keymaster? Or the Gatekeeper?

Many were just happy to have Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, and Sigourney Weaver tied to the project, but they are generally not very active throughout the movie and reserved for important scenes.  Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd are the new Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis stand-ins but they are different enough to not just be copies.  While Finn Wolfhard was kind of marketed as the lead, it is Mckenna Grace who takes the biggest role in the film and her friend played by Logan Kim.  While Ghostbusters was a “boys club” type movie, it is nice to have a little balance brought by Grace and Wolfhard’s crush Celeste O’Connor who also get into the mix.  The movie features appearances by Tracy Letts, J.K. Simmons (as Ivo), and Olivia Wilde as Gozer…and it was nice to kind of see Gozer finally do something.

ghostbusters afterlife gozer olivia wilde

Guess who’s back? Maybe this time Gozer will do something…

Like the original, the ghosts are some of the highlights and other than a few new ghosts (like Muncher), the return of Gozer and the Gatekeeper and Keymaster dog creatures are the best aspects of the movie.  The movie does remember that it is a film about ghosts and has some nice jumps in line with the first Ghostbusters.  The movie does feature a recreated Harold Ramis which is a bit unnerving, but visually matches ghosts like the floating librarian in the original film which means a complete match of Ramis isn’t necessary (and creates a story resolution for the character).

An oddity of the film is the country setting.  New York City was so central to Ghostbusters and almost a character itself.  Moving Ghostbusters:  Afterlife to the country potentially could have slowed down the movie to a crawl.  Instead, it ties with the mine the original story and creates a nice bridge…though the ghosts didn’t have much to do in Summerville when they were released.

ghostbusters afterlife mckenna grace harold ramis

Awkward family reunions

Ghostbusters:  Afterlife does a lot to wrap-up some of the Ghostbusters legacy, but it also creates new questions.  Nothing is really mentioned about Ghostbusters II in the film though Reitman has said it occurred and Vigo could be a villain in a sequel.  The movie also opens doorways for Hudson’s character to relaunch and rebrand Ghostbusters in New York and potentially all over the globe…Ghostbusters:  Afterlife could be a conclusion or just the start of something new.  Who you gonna call?

Related Links:

Ghostbusters (1984)

Ghostbusters II (1989)

Ghostbusters (2016)

The Real Ghostbusters—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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