Ghostbusters: Afterlife Has The Tools And The Talent

Ghostbusters: Afterlife Has the Tools and the Talent

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the story of Phoebe, a young budding scientist who suddenly moves with her mother (Carrie Coon) and her brother (Finn Wolfhard) to their grandfather’s abandoned farmhouse in rural Summerville. There she meets and befriends a seismologist (Paul Rudd) who is investigating a series of unexplained earthquakes. As they dig deeper into the mystery, Phoebe learns that she may have a connection to a series of paranormal events that plagued New York in the 1980s and that something related is about to happen in her small town.

What works in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the combination of humor, horror, and heart. Serving as a direct sequel to 1989’s Ghostbusters II, Afterlife succeeds in mirroring the tone of the very first film that balanced comedy and scares with aplomb. Writer/director Jason Reitman (son of Ivan, who shepherded the previous entries) has profound respect for the soul of the Ghostbusters franchise. Here, he crafts a chapter that fits perfectly well with the narrative thus far, while moving into the modern era. The characters feel deep and rich; the special effects are eye-catching; and the thrills are the best kind: unexpected. Fans of the original movies will smile at the plethora of nods and references, and newcomers will enjoy getting to know this next generation of busters.

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Individuals who feel that there is too much emphasis on nostalgia in modern cinema might not enjoy Ghostbusters: Afterlife as much as others. The film is chock of full reused content: everything from sound effects, characters, music, villains, and even full-on plot arcs. Audiences yearning for more wholly original stories may feel Afterlife plays things a bit safe. Furthermore, today Ghostbusters does not seem scary. But, in 1984 it was lauded for blending genres. To that end, parents should know that Afterlife ramps up the terror to a degree that might startle younger viewers.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a movie built for fans in the best possible way. It’s hard to know if this will be last of the Ghostbusters films (for now), but either way it provides a warm, fitting conclusion to a series beloved by so many.

Recommended if you Enjoyed: Ghostbusters (1984), Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Final Grade: A

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Fox Troilo

Fox serves as an entertainment journalist in the Washington, D.C. When not covering cinematic news for LRM, he critiques films as a member of the Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association. Fox also has a Ph.D. in Higher Education and Strategy from Indiana University Bloomington.

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