Andrea’s Film Review – Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Ghostbusters – Afterlife ⭐⭐⭐ Review by Andrea Carnevali

The next chapter in the Ghostbusters story. In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, when a single mother and her two kids arrive in a small town, they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind. Out in cinemas Friday 19 November 2021.

I was a teenager when the original film was first released (I know, that gives away my age, but in my defence I’m still Peter Pan at heart). Even back then then I was aware of how silly it all was, but also that it was doing something quite unique for the time: mixing (very funny) comedy and (quite scary) horror on a large budget.

While that film was clearly a product of the ’80s (gender inequality, montage scenes cut to famous pop music, obligatory crowd clapping the heroes moments, “what-the-hell-were-we-thinking” haircuts and so on) 38 years later it’s impossible not to feel sentimental about it.

And it’s exactly that sense of nostalgia that is the main force driving this new version. I could fill pages with all the nods and winks spread across the film, some more subtle than others. Beyond the fondness towards the original film itself, Afterlife is also latching onto the ’80s revival that’s been riding strong over the last few years, from the way the film is paced (rather slow for an action/adventure film), the way it’s structured, the look of it, even going as far as casting one of the leads from Stranger Things, the ultimate ’80s Love-fest.

The main plot itself is also complete rehash of the original (literally the same beats, especially during the second half), but it has to be said that without Bill Murray‘s impeccable comedic timing and deadpan face at the centre of it, many of the laughter has now been replaced by a lot of “teenage mystery”, which makes the film looking more like some sort of Goonies mixed in with Lost Boys (again, more ’80s stuff) rather than an actual Ghostbusters film.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing and to be honest I don’t think the film is as bad as critics are making it, but if you are looking for that winning formula of sparkling comedy and creepy horror which made that first one so enduring, you may be disappointed. Other than that, I can promise you this film just as silly, preposterous and over the top as it’s always been. Go and re-watch the original again if you don’t believe me and only vaguely remember it. Kids will love it, and so those who are emotionally attached to the first film… All the others will probably go “meh…”

Also, whether audiences will take the last act as a homage to the first film (and poignant tribute to the late Harold Ramis, one of the four original members of the Ghostbusters crew) or just a terribly shmaltzy and misjudged cash-in exercise, will remain to be seen. As far as I am concerned, I’ve got a big heart and I really didn’t mind it. Cheesy yes… But sweet too.

And finally, do stay in right to the end of the credits, for the obligatory post-credit extra scenes. Two in fact, if you’ve got any will left in you. A pointless first so-what scene and then another which hints at more mayhem to come in the inevitable sequel which might just happen is if there is enough appetite for it.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick.

Book tickets to watch this at Chiswick Cinema here: chiswickcinema.co.uk

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