Review: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

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After coming out on Nov. 19, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” received mixed reviews from critics. The movie features well-known actors such as McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and Paul Rudd, not to mention many familiar faces from the original “Ghostbusters” film.

Filmed in Alberta, Canada, the movie takes place in a small town in Oklahoma. The storyline follows a mom and her two kids moving to a farm left to them by her father. It doesn’t take long for them to realize the paranormal activity around both the house and the town.

McKenna Grace plays Phoebe, a science-obsessed 12-year-old who discovers her family connection to one of the original ghostbusters. She’s socially awkward but extremely hilarious and her lines had our theater constantly laughing. Her friend Podcast, played by Logan Kim, created a funny character. Throughout the film, he documents their chase for ghosts, never seen without his camera and microphone. For the first half of the film, Phoebe, Podcast and their teacher Mr. Gooberson (Paul Rudd) focus on the paranormal side of the movie, while Phoebe’s older brother Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) puts his energy into his new job, fixing the all-too-familiar Ghostbusters car and finding ways to talk to his coworker Lucky, (Celeste O’Connor). The plot throws curveballs that make up for some predictable moments. Overall, the actors did a great job at depicting characters that were relatable and true to the original. 

“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” lasts for a little over two hours including the two post-credit scenes, but all of the scenes contribute to the plotline in some way. The film takes place in the present day, so the characters dress very normally and casually until you reach the end of the movie. Then we get to see the classic Ghostbuster uniforms and other more elaborate costumes. 

The music always makes the movie no matter what you’re watching, and it’s the same for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” Rob Simonsen composed the original soundtrack for the film, but the star of the movie, McKenna Grace, wrote and sang the song that plays during the credits. The appropriately named song “Haunted House” released with the movie on Nov. 19. 

The movie’s release elicited two big questions from potential viewers. The first is whether or not it lives up to the original film. Personally, I don’t believe anything can live up to the “Ghostbusters” movie, but the sequel got very close. It’s a good balance of new plots and old connections. Every time a familiar face appeared on screen there was a round of applause from the audience. The second question is if people who haven’t seen “Ghostbusters” will enjoy this new movie. The writers did a great job at setting up the movie in a way that clarifies important aspects of the plot for anyone who hasn’t seen the original. My friend never watched “Ghostbusters” before coming to the theater with us, and nonetheless loved the new film. However, countless references are scattered throughout the movie, and it was so fun trying to catch every single one. So it’s possible to view and enjoy the film without watching the original, but “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” is even better with background knowledge. 

All things considered, I think this film surpasses the other continuations that were produced. It’s hilarious and true to the original plot and I believe it sets up for other Ghostbusters movies in the future. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out.