This ‘love letter’ from director Jason Reitman to the Ghostbusters universe – and particularly the late Harold ‘Egon Spengler’ Ramis – provides a pleasurable couple of hours of homage to the 1984 film.
If very little more.
When Carrie Coon’s penniless Mum, Callie Spengler, and her two kids – eldest Trevor (Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard) and youngest Phoebe (McKenna Grace) – arrive in a small backwater Oklahoma town, all she has to her name is a spooky farmhouse left by her late estranged father Egon.
Despite all three of them initially feeling ‘lost’, Callie befriends Phoebe’s school teacher Gary (Paul ‘Ant-Man’ Rudd), mid-teen hormonal Trevor gets a crush on fast-food co-worker Lucky Domingo (Celeste O’Connor), and socially-awkward Phoebe becomes pals with her classmate known as ‘Podcast’ (Logan Kim). Who is coincidentally the best thing about the film alongside Grace – providing the stand-out comedic interludes.
But when the town – which isn’t situated on a tectonic plate – starts to receive daily tremors, the kids (and particularly Phoebe) start to uncover mysterious things below the surface of their grandfather’s former abode, and they begin to discover their connection to the original Ghostbusters.
Especially when Gary becomes involved after a ghost trap is found, an underground lair that houses the legendary proton packs is located, and Trevor fixes up the battered iconic Ghostbusters Ectomobile laying abandoned in the garage – initially unaware of its significance.
What soon transpires is this house (and surrounding area) has significant connections to Gozerian cultist Ivo Shandor – referenced in the original – with his mining operations nearby, and soon the town is over-run by the same entities that briefly engulfed New York City thirty or so years before.
And even though this is fairly straightforward stuff – it misses the kind of energy that Bill Murray brought to the first film directed by Reitman’s father Ivan – there’s an always watchable feel with its likeable cast, despite a lack of truly enthralling set pieces.
The ending particularly wields an emotional throwback that will gratify fans, and even though it’s way too reliant on (sometimes bordering on lazy) nostalgic references – complete with some of the original musical score – it all well ends up, erm nice.
That’s about the best way to sum this up. It’s a ‘nice’ true spiritual sequel to the original.
And with seeds being planted for potential sequels, this proves to be an amiable starting point for welcome future entries – to show there’s plenty of life after Ghostbusters yet.
Even if this was lacking that certain something you can’t quite put your finger on.
ESP Rating: 3/5
Showcase Cinema De Lux Peterborough, Out Now
Cast: Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Paul Rudd, Carrie Coon, Logan Kim, Celeste O’Connor, Bokeem Woodbine, Jk Simmons, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Sigourney Weaver & Olivia Wilde
Running Time: 2 Hrs 4 Mins
Director: Jason Reitman
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