Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a follow-up to the Ghostbusters movies of the 1980s, directed by Ivan Reitman (who has a producer credit on this film). This new installment is directed by his son, Jason Reitman.
You might expect Ghostbusters: Afterlife to have a similar tone to the first movie, but it's completely different. Not to say that's a bad thing. It's an original movie with an original premise and it's incredibly entertaining.
At the beginning of the film, Egon Spengler is living on a remote farm outside the small town of Summerville, Oklahoma, where he moved many years ago for reasons unknown. When he dies, his daughter Callie (Carrie Coon), who never met her father, reluctantly moves with her two kids to the farm when she's evicted from her home.
Her son, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard), 15, is downright grumpy about moving out to the country, while his younger sister, 12-year-old Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), takes things in stride. She's a science nerd and the brains of the family.
This is really Phoebe's story. Mckenna Grace carries the movie like the experienced actor she is, in spite of her young age. Phoebe discovers some of her grandfather’s ghost hunting paraphernalia, including the nuclear-powered zapper and a ghost trap.
Trevor has a smaller storyline, in which he develops a crush on a girl in Summerville. He finds his grandfather's dusty old Ecto-1 Cadillac under a tarp in the barn, not knowing what Phoebe has already found. He just wants to get it in running order so he can have wheels to get around in, but it turns out to be handy when Phoebe is in full ghostbusting mode later in the movie.
Possibly due to her father's absence in her childhood, Callie doesn't pay much attention to her children. She shows a little more interest when Phoebe's summer school teacher, Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd) drives Phoebe and her friend Podcast (Logan Kim) home from school, after they show him the ghost trap.
Phoebe gets most of the funny lines, although Paul Rudd infuses humor into his lines as well, but this isn't the laugh fest that the original was. Without the comedy team that made up the original Ghostbusters, it takes on a more serious tone.
However, there are cute moments, such as when Grooberson discovers tiny Stay-Puft marshmallow men popping out of marshmallow bags in Walmart, then running rampant.
Phoebe and Trevor, who don't seem to be close, finally team up when it becomes clear that evil is about to be unleashed on Summerville.
Young audiences will enjoy Ghostbusters: Afterlife as an action/thriller with plenty of adventure and enough laughs to make it fun. Older and more nostalgic viewers will appreciate the nods to the original, and there are many, including cameos from several original cast members. Make sure to stay during the credits for two extra scenes, including one with Sigourney Weaver, who isn't seen in the movie until that point.
4 out of 5 stars.