Review: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Alan Acosta, Photography Manager

Legacy can be a delicate matter to handle in film. Within the past decade, large movie franchises have been resurrected, with reboots such as Star Wars, Jurassic World, James Bond, and more releasing to new generations. Some receive universal praise, while others make viewers feel cheated out. Even Ghostbusters is no stranger, with an all-female casted reboot released in 2016, though it was met with a negative reception and low box-office numbers. With Bill Murray’s reluctance since 1984, Harold Ramis’ death in 2014, and the reboot’s underperformance, it seemed as if Ghostbusters was dead again. Until it wasn’t. 

By early 2019, it was announced that Jason Reitman, son of the original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, was set to direct a new Ghostbusters film, with his father serving as a producer. With the film being connected to the original universe, Reitman succeeded in bringing actors old and new to tell a familiar story while building upon the legacy left before it. During a 2020 interview with Vanity Fair, Bill Murray said, “The script is good. It’s got lots of emotion in it. It’s got lots of family in it, with through lines that are really interesting… It’s gonna work.” 

Originally moved from its July 2020 release date, due to COVID-19, GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE was released on Nov. 19, 2021. The official synopsis reads “When a single mother and her two children move to a new town, they soon discover they have a connection to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy their grandfather left behind.” The film received mixed to average reviews, with audiences praising its nostalgia, performances, and Reitman’s direction, though the screenplay and amount of fan service have been criticized. 

Compared to similar reboots, AFTERLIFE stands out by respecting and evolving its franchise, entertaining long-time fans and rookie viewers. By introducing new characters, locations, and situations to the ghost-catching business, the film pays tribute to the legacy of Reitman and the Ghostbusters. Especially to the late Harold Ramis, who played Ghostbuster Egon Spengler.

RATING: 4.3/5 Stars

(Credit: Slash Film)