Ghostbusters: Afterlife Review

By Published On: November 19, 2021Categories: Movies

A spirited successor.

Okay, let’s get one thing out of the way really quick. The 2016 “reboot” of Ghostbusters was all right. It wasn’t amazing, but it didn’t piss me off either. It was fine for the entertainment it provided. That said, it didn’t quite connect to the franchise as much as I was hoping, probably because director Paul Feig was busy trying to craft his own thing to shoehorn into the universe.

I think that’s why I appreciated Ghostbusters: Afterlife more than I would have on its own. It feels more like a natural successor while, at the same time, doing something new. Not that Ghostbusters 2016 was a complete failure, but this feels more like the movie we fans have been waiting on. You shouldn’t be afraid of this ghost because it’s quite… spirited?

Building On a Foundation

Source: Sony/Columbia Pictures

The story follows Callie (Carrie Coon), a single mom with two kids (Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace) who find themselves moving to a small town left to them by her father after a sudden eviction. It’s left in a rotted state, but has quite a bit of mystery behind it – and that’s just the beginning, as some mysterious earthquakes and “ghostly” actions leave them wondering what’s going on.
Also involved in the mix is a kid named Podcast (Logan Kim), who takes a liking to young Phoebe (the girl); and a school teacher played by Paul Rudd in only the most Paul Rudd-ing way possible, and we’re all the more thankful for it.
To talk more about the story would spoil what director Jason Reitman and co-writer Gil Kenan have in store, a fun, nostalgic machine that doesn’t stop pumping. Not to mention the fun treats that await, mainly in the face of discovery.

Not a Ploy, But a Smooth Flow

What’s great about Afterlife is that it doesn’t force-feed us the old-school. Rather, Reitman and Kenan give us a story that fits in naturally with the rest of the franchise (well, the first two parts) while, at the same time, establishing some great new characters. As we said, Rudd’s teacher is a trip, living for danger until it’s suddenly staring him right in the face (like with tiny Stay-Puft Marshmallow Men that wreak havoc in a local Walmart). Wolfhard and Grace play off each other perfectly as fellow kids, working alongside the humorous Kim to try and figure out what’s happening in their small town.

Source: Sony/Columbia Pictures

The film is also very well directed, with a handful of digital effects mixing in with the otherwise awesome practical ones. When a certain monster shows up from the first film, for example, you can tell he’s actually there instead of just popping up via CG (though it does have that at some points). It’s great how much Reitman leaned on the “older” side of filmmaking, rather than going for quick flash-in-the-pan stuff.

It all builds up to a great finale that really pours on the charm. There’s no getting me to say how it does it, but you’ll see for yourself. Make sure you stay for two great post-credits sequences as well.

Give These Guys a Call

Despite some small loose ends hanging (like with Wolfhard’s attraction to a local town mate) and Bokeem Woodbine’s sheriff character disappearing all too soon), Ghostbusters: Afterlife does exactly what it needs to do. It reminds us of the greatness of the franchise while adding onto it, with enough likable jokes, great action sequences, and a fun story that unfolds with just the right amount of joy. Where the franchise goes from here is anyone’s guess, but if it keeps building with this kind of momentum and care, I’m all the more for it.

DVS Rating: 8.5/10

About the Author: Captain Steve