Film Review: “Ghostbusters: Afterlife”



Starring: Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace and Paul Rudd

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Rated: PG 13

Running time: 2 hrs 5 mins

SONY Pictures


 In the summer of 1984 I began my career as a movie theatre manager in Baltimore. One of the first films shown in my theatre – “Ghostbusters.” The film has a special place in my heart for this reason and I went into “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” hoping it would not disappoint. It sure didn’t!


A man runs horridly through a corn field, careening this way and that, trying to outrun a seemingly invisible enemy. He makes it to his front porch, throws a large switch and relaxes. He’s safe. Right?


A great throwback to the 1980s, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” picks up decades after the events in “Ghostbusters II.” Like “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” “Jaws 3-D” and 2016’s all-female film – which I enjoyed – the series seems to be ignoring the third films in their respective series. You’ll get no argument from me.


Callie (Carrie Coon) and her two childrent, Trevor (the always fun to watch Finn Wolfhard) and his younger sister Phoebe (Grace) have come to a small town in Oklahoma to settle the estate of Callie’s estranged father. While Trevor is mischievous and looking for excitement – in a town that is pretty much befeft of it – Phoebe is very serious and scientific. While Trevor tries to hang with the cool kids, Phoebe investiages the house and finds some odd looking scientific equipment. When she takes it to school her teacher, Mr. Gooberson (Rudd) comments on what a great “replica” she has brought in. Confused by the comment, she asks Mr. G to explain and he fills her in on the massive ghost activity that took place in New York City in the early 1980s. Intrigued by the story, and what she has found, Phoebe begins a search to learn who her grandfather was and why he had all of these amazing toys.

Co-written and directed by Jason Reitman, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is just fine as a stand alone story but if you are a fan of the earlier films, you will be overwhelmed by the various “Easter Eggs” Reitman has hidden for you to find. Reitman’s father, Ivan, directed the first two films in the series and services as a producer on this one and it’s obvious he has shared his love for the project with his son.


But this is not your father’s “Ghostbusters.” It is a lot darker than the earlier films, and people hoping to introduce their kids to the series should be aware of that. Reitman keeps the pace moving and the visual effects – which I thought were the weak part of the film in  1984 – are spectacular. Or, if you will permit me, “Spooktacular!”

DVD Reviews “Afterlife: Series 1 & 2”

Starring: Andrew Lincoln, Lesley Sharp
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2014 / October 7, 2014
Run Time: 282 / 370 minutes

Series: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Hold on a sec…did BBC just release a series called “Afterlife” starring “The Walking Dead” star Andrew Lincoln?? Wait a sec, this aired back in 2005? This is honestly, the first time that I am hearing about this series. But BBC Home Entertainment is smart for cashing in on the ridiculous success of “The Walking Dead” and releasing the series 1 and series 2 of this psychological thriller. It also co-stars the brilliant Lesley Sharp (“The Full Monty”). This show didn’t last very long on TV and only aired in the United Kingdom when it did, so this is the first time it is crossing over the pond. If you dig Lincoln, this is a pretty solid show. I really enjoyed it and I wish I would have heard back it sooner. Luckily though, the complete series is available and I recommend it for any “The Walking Dead” fan.

Series 1 Official Premise: A medium who has been able to see spirits since she was a child, Alison appears to be the real deal- unable to avoid the dead who seek her aid, she is driven to resolve relationships torn apart by death. Science-minded Robert finds it hard to change his deeply rooted assumptions that such paranormal activity is impossible. When Alison’s readings provoke an adverse reaction in one of Robert’s own pupils, he begins to observe her with the intention of turning his study into a book. Choosing to believe that Alison is imagining her experiences, Robert finds himself caught up as Alison continuously puts herself at risk in order to comfort both the living and the dead… until she sets her sights on helping Robert come to terms with his son’s tragic death.

Series 2 Official Premise: A chilling psychological drama that enters the world of the dead to answer questions about the living. In the terrifying and emotional climax to the first series, Alison (Lesley Sharp, Scott & Bailey) collapsed and nearly died during a séance in which she was inhabited by the spirit of Robert’s (Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead) dead son. Now on the road to recovery, Alison has to accept that the spirits she has seen since she was a child will never leave her. Determined that her life should not be dictated by the dead, she wants to use her gift to help the living. Robert, meanwhile, is in turmoil – once a total skeptic, his beliefs have been shaken by what he witnessed at the séance. He struggles to make sense of his life and turns to Alison for answers… but she is jolted out of her own new-found security by a terrifying presence. For the first time in her life she is being haunted by a spirit from her own past, a ghost she must learn to confront if she is to hold onto her sanity.

The series is only being released on DVD from BBC Home Entertainment. I would have loved to see a Blu-ray release but this show barely looks good on DVD. It is quite grainy throughout. The first series has audio commentary tracks on episodes 1 and 6 with stars Andrew Lincoln and Lesley Sharp, the series creator, Stephen Volk and producer, Murray Ferguson. I like that Lincoln is actually involved here but I am not sure when it was recorded and if it was before his fandom from “The Walking Dead”. The second series only comes with a 45 minutes behind-the-scenes features, which is very thorough and dives into the series’ production.