Ghostbusters: Afterlife - New Release Review
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Logan Kim, Celeste O'Connor
Written by: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman
Produced by: Ivan Reitman, Erica Mills, Eric Reich
Cinematography by: Eric Steelberg
Original Score by: Rob Simonsen
When a single mom and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.
Who you gonna call?! That’s right, the Reitmans! Jason picks up what his father, Ivan Reitman, and the gang left us with after 'Ghostbusters II', and he runs with it. This is a direct sequel to the 1989 film (although it never makes a direct reference to it) however it follows the similar beats of the 1984 original.
The opening of this film is equally impactful as the original, going straight for the spooky punch. Then, we are introduced to Egon’s daughter and grandchildren as they find themselves with no other choice but to drive to Summerville, a small-town Americana setting, to sort out his land and belongings. Little do they realise what this truly entails.
The narrative itself echoes the plot of the original 'Ghostbusters' (with some nods to 'Tremors') as Summerville is affected by mysterious earthquakes due to supernatural goings-on. The whole aesthetic of this film is enveloped in a kind of dust-covered 80s chic; the carhop American diner in the centre of town really drives this home (pun intended). The real heart and drive of this film is the relationships between the characters, the super cool Ghostbusters gadgets (some of which have had a Spengler upgrade) and fearsome phantoms.
There are many a familiar face in this film – from this world and beyond - which will appeal to fans of the original 'Ghostbusters' films. The newest members of the ghost bustin’ squad, in the form of Phoebe (Grace), Podcast (Kim), Lucky (O’Connor) and Trevor (Wolfhard), have all established that they ain’t afraid of no ghost, especially Phoebe, who really captures what it means to be a Spengler. It is also worth mentioning that Paul Rudd does what Paul Rudd does best… and what’s not to like about that?
Rob Simonsen’s score carries on the legacy of Elmer Bernstein’s original score wonderfully. We are treated to several tracks and cues that will warm the heart of any Bernstein fan. It’s worth noting that there are two post credit scenes, both worth sticking around for as they are fun and intriguing for any GB fan.
Some will argue that Muncher and the Mini-Pufts will never be as memorable as Slimer and the OG Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and perhaps there may be some truth to that. However a whole new generation will now look on Muncher as their Slimer. That being said, keep an EYE out for a brand new spooky spirit that looks an awful lot like one of the toys from the 'The Real Ghostbusters' line of animated Kenner ghost figures.
Some many even argue that the dialogue is too cheesy and that some of the fan service is over the top but for me this film is exactly what I, as a lifelong 'Ghostbusters' fan, wanted from a 'Ghostbusters' sequel. It’s a whole lotta fun and a fitting tribute to those who worked on the original film, particularly the legendary Harold Ramis.
- Danny Brown