Even after the fucktrocity that was the 2016 reboot, I ain't afraid of no Ghostbusters movie. The franchise may have had more ups and downs than a hotel elevator over its 38-year - so far - run, so thank Zuul that the most recent entry, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, gets this ghost train back on the ghost tracks.
The original Ghostbusters from back in 1984 is a legit classic. True believer Ray Stantz (Dan "The Man" Aykroyd), opportunistic charlatan Peter Venkman (Bill "The Myth, The Legend" Murray), geeky genius Egon Spengler (Harold "RIP" Ramis), and utility player Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson "River") saved New York and the world by busting ghosts up to and including a Sumerian god named Gozer, and they did it with the perfect mix of humor, chills, and thrills.
The 1989 sequel couldn't touch the original's levels of laughs, scares, or cares, but it didn't crater the series. That honor goes to Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (fka just Ghostbusters), which is not a direct sequel to the first two flicks. The hubbub around that reboot focused on the fact that it featured an all-female team of Ghostbusters, but the movie sucked pendulous donkey balls not because its leads lacked Y chromosomes but because it failed on every level of storytelling, entertaining, and filmmaking.
Which is why Ghostbusters: Afterlife is such a pleasant and welcome surprise. It is a direct sequel to the original movies, and it smartly pretends the 2016 movie never existed, something a lot of us wish we could do. This time around, Spengler's estranged daughter, Callie (Carrie "Rack" Coone), and her kids, Phoebe (McKenna "Amazing" Grace) and Trevor (Finn "Will 100% Play Joey Ramone and/or Howard Stern At Some Point) Wolfhard, have to solve the mystery of why Egon left the Ghostbusters and became a hermit on an Oklahoma dirt farm that they've recently inherited. And, of course, they get to bust some ghosts along the way.
Is Ghostbusters: Afterlife perfect? Nope. It has some plot holes bigger than the Grand Canyon, but it gets the look and feel of the original right, and most importantly it shares the same amount of heart. I won't spoil anything by saying the original Ghostbusters make an appearance, and there's a cameo that, while not totally unexpected, will tug at the heartstrings of even the grumpiest ghost denier.
And yes, they even manage a sly "Who ya gonna call?" back.
January 28, 2022