Everything about Ghostbusters: Afterlife certainly fits in with that subtitle. Instead of young male physicists, the titular Ghostbusters are and Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor Spengler (Finn Wolfhard), grandchildren of original Ghostbuster Egon Spengler, and their friend who is simply named Podcast (Logan Kim). They discover the remnants of the team’s initial iteration, just as a supernatural event begins to rock their small town.
However, it wouldn’t be a fair review if I didn’t give credit where credit is due. It’s no surprise that the original Ghostbuster actors return in Afterlife (the late night talk show circuit has confirmed as much), but I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about the fact that one of them, Harold Ramis, died in 2014 and thus, of course, is unable to return. However, they didn’t simply have him die a peaceful off-screen death and never mention him again except in passing; they make Egon Spengler the focal point of the story, and include an emotional, if clunkily executed, sendoff at the very end. They know that the Ghostbusters will never be the same without Ramis, and I like that Afterlife is essentially designed as a feature-length tribute to him and his iconic character.
If there were to be a sequel to Afterlife, I hope to god it doesn’t emulate Ghostbusters II, but if there’s anything that Afterlife proves, it’s that the series is headed in the right direction, and there’s life in this franchise yet. [Grade: B]
Director: Jason Reitman
Writers: Gil Kenan, Jason Reitman
Starring: McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Logan Kim
Rated: PG-13 for supernatural action and some suggestive references