After several COVID-19 pandemic induced delays Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the worthy sequel to the original 1984 film, and sets the stage well for future cinematic exploits.
The film follows a down on her luck mother named Callie (Carrie Coon) and her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), as they are forced to move to a dilapidated farm in rural Oklahoma following the passing of Callie’s estranged father and her subsequent eviction.
A series of unexplained earthquakes clues the smart and precocious Phoebe that something is up. With her new friend Podcast (Logan Kim), and teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd), she uncovers her connection to the original Ghostbusters and the abundance and significance of the gear that her grandfather has left on the farm.
Things soon take a turn for the worse and despite skeptical locals and the emerging danger, Phoebe, Trevor, and their friends have to battle the forces of evil to save the world.
The movie takes its time getting to the action and spends plenty of time establishing the characters, their motivations, and their relationships with one another. There are abundant homages to the original film, some of which are very subtle and clever, but none of them seem gratuitous or tacked on.
Despite Ghostbusters: Afterlife being an effects-heavy film, it doesn’t rely on those effects to tell its tale. It is a character-driven story, and the new cast works well with some surprise guests who pop up throughout the film.
Director Jason Reitman, son of the Director of the original film, clearly knows and loves the material. He deftly weaves a new tale into the franchise, which also fits well with the first film and does not attempt to reboot but rather continue the story.
There are two extra scenes in the credits that you will not want to miss. Not only are they great fun, it also teases future adventures to come.
The film also has a few touching moments that caused some unexpected emotion from the audience at our Press Screening and helped establish Ghostbusters Afterlife as not only a winning entry into the series but also one of the most enjoyable films of the year.
4.5 stars out of 5.