Greetings, ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ is a 2021 supernatural film that was directed by Jason Reitman who took over the reins of the franchise after his father Ivan’s beloved cinematic hits took pop culture by storm back in the 1980s. After a 32 year gap from where the story was left off in the late 80s, ‘Afterlife’ is considered the third film of the series that started all the way back in 1984. The movie ushered in a new era of actors and actresses to the iconic boiler suit wearing ghostbusting team with Mckenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard and Logan Kim being the core members. There other stars include Carrie Coon, Paul Rudd, Celeste O’Connor and some cameo roles from the original cast who helped cement this latest instalment as a continuation of the saga. The music was composed by Rob Simonsen who expertly incorporated themes and motifs from Elmer Bernstein’s earlier score.
The film begins in the dead of night as Egon Spengler is driving away from a mine at furious speed. As his truck roars through rural America, it is clear he is being chased by an invisible entity and his blinking ghost trap implies he has captured a malevolent spirt. The vehicle flips over during the chase and the aging Spengler climbs out of it, making a run for his remote shack with the trap in his hand. He reaches his wooden deck and kicks a power grid to life that will ignite a trap surrounding his house. The ghostly footprints make impressions on the soil and Egon pulls a lever to snare the apparition. The power fails at the crucial moment and despite his best efforts, he can’t get it to work again so he runs inside his house where he conceals the occupied ghost trap underneath the floorboards. With nothing else to do but bid his time, Egon sits down in his armchair and patiently waits for the monster to attack him as he knows it will. He is equipped with his trusty P.K.E. Meter to monitor any spectral activity in the area as he sits.
A white mist slowly seeps in from the fireplace and an outline of a creature can be seen to rise behind Egon before it quietly subsides into nothingness. Demonic arms reach out of the armchair and restrain him. A bright light flies over the dilapidated farmhouse like a comet indicating the creature was caught by some unseen trap. The silent meter falls from Egon’s unmoving hand and lands on the floor. After a moment, the P.K.E. Meter chirps up again and the blinking lights suggests that a new ghostly presence has entered the house. Some days later, the financially struggling Callie Spengler inherits and moves into the farmhouse with her two children Phoebe and Trevor after being unable to stay in her Chicago apartment. Her relationship with her father had been non-existent as Egon had become increasingly withdrawn from everyone and it is apparent that his grandchildren knew nothing of the man he was. It isn’t long before the intellectually gifted Phoebe starts to notice some unusual phenomenon happening around the house that defies rational thinking.
I enjoyed this movie, even after significant hype which can ruin many a picture, and felt it had a great opening which set the rest of the story up perfectly. While I realise that it was not a perfect addition, it treated its previous entries with the respect they deserved and nicely added to what came before. It importantly gave Egon a touching send off after Harold Ramis, the well renowned actor behind the character, passed away in 2014. ‘Afterlife’ brought a bit of charm back to the series after Paul Feig’s much maligned all-female reboot came out in 2016 to a barrage of criticism. The 2021 version wisely ignored the former iteration which had been the focus of an early battle in the Culture Wars that gripped the Western world in the early 2010s. Overall, parts of ‘Afterlife’ felt a bit underdeveloped or rushed but I believe it would have pleased most fans, old and new alike, and I would consider myself a satisfied customer as well.
Quote of the Day
Mulder, it is such a gorgeous day outside. Have you ever entertained the idea of trying to find life on this planet?