Set 32 years after the events of Ghostbusters 2, Callie (Carrie Coon) is a struggling single mother who moves to a small town in Oklahoma with her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (Mckenna Grace). In their new home, the kids discover their connection to the forgotten Ghostbusters and their grandfather’s secret legacy. With the help of their science teacher Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd), they uncover the awakening of an old foe that is looming over the rural town of Summerville.
There’s no denying that the original Ghostbusters is a lightning-in-a-bottle comedy classic. The brainchild of Dan Aykroyd, Ivan Reitman, and the late Harold Ramis introduced the hilariously smart idea of scruffy exterminators taking on New York’s paranormal mess as their 9-5. But as the series has gone on, the attempts to re-capture the formula again in Ghostbusters 2 or flip the reboot switch in Ghostbusters (2016) never quite revived the spirit of the timeless original.
In the case of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, director Jason Reitman took a surprising turn as it takes all the equipment in a completely new setting and creates a kid-focused coming of age story in the wake of recent trends like Stranger Things and It. For some fans, it may be disappointing to not see the original team as the centre focus, but the very likable cast substitutes the 4th entry with a very engaging presence, particularly Grace and Rudd. If anything, the story of a family moving into a rural town was intriguing enough as an indie drama, but as the movie progresses, it goes full reference mode, making sure the fans get to see every single little detail from the 1984 classic, without creating much of a lasting impact of its own. But their tribute to Ramis was quite well done.
Overall, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a fun and endearing little movie that provides a well-performed coming of age story while bringing a lot of callbacks and references, almost to a fault, to please as many fans as possible. If you’ve been waiting several decades to see the Ecto 1 or Proton Packs back on the big screen, this is the movie for you.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is in Australian cinemas on New Years Day.