Starring: Carrie Coon, McKenna Grace and Paul Rudd
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 2 hrs 5 mins
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!”