Ghostbusters: Afterlife Parent Guide
Who you gonna call?
Parent Movie Review
Life isn’t easy for a single mom, and when Callie (Carrie Coon) gets evicted from her home, she’s left with just one option: her recently deceased father’s rundown farmhouse on the edge of Summerville, Oklahoma. While she’s not thrilled about the prospect, her children Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace) find ways to make it work. Trevor picks up a job at the local burger joint to hang out with Lucky (Celeste O’Connor), a pretty girl he meets there. Phoebe, on the other hand, discovers her late grandfather’s basement workshop, which includes, among other things, a sizeable collection of mold, spores, and fungi, a set of matching brown jumpsuits… and an unlicensed particle accelerator. Unfortunately for Phoebe, those are going to come in handy (well, maybe not the spores).
As Phoebe explores the homestead, she learns that the mysterious rumbling emanating from an abandoned mine might be related to an ancient Sumerian deity of terrible power, who isn’t planning to stay sealed up underground much longer. With the whole world at risk, it’s down to Phoebe, Trevor, Lucky, Phoebe’s friend Podcast (Logan Kim), and their summer-school teacher Mr Grooberson (Paul Rudd) to figure out how to trap it once and for all.
I had a bad feeling about this movie, and it’s mostly because of the last Ghostbusters revamp. My feeling was that Ghostbusters is one of those classic films that deserves to be left alone. And while I still think that Hollywood needs to make some effort to create new stories instead of rehashing the greatest hits of the 80s to cash in on our seemingly bottomless nostalgia budget, I must admit I really liked this movie.
I know, I know – me, liking a movie? It does happen. And there’s a lot to like here. The film is fast, fun, and perhaps most surprisingly, really funny. The script has a lot of the dry sarcasm that made the original so popular, and the cast has the comic timing dialed right in. Mckenna Grace is particularly spectacular, but I can’t leave out Paul Rudd and Carrie Coon either.
Fans of the first film might be relieved to hear that this is a much more family suitable option. Eighties comedies are many things, but raunchy is usually one of them, and there are more than a few off-color moments to be had in the original Ghostbusters. I was actually shocked by how clean this movie is. That said, it’s chock full of terrifying moments with ghosts and demonic spirits, some of whom possess main characters, making it grossly unsuitable for children. (Religious viewers who object to pagan deities might also prefer to avoid this film.)
What appeals to me most about this reboot is that it feels like it genuinely cares about the original. Especially compared to the 2016 version, this movie is much closer both visually and tonally to the 1984 classic. I suspect that has to do with the fact that director Jason Reitman is the son of the original director, Ivan Reitman, and actually cares about the franchise’s legacy. The film also functions as a remarkably touching tribute to the late, great Harold Ramis, who originated the role of Egon Spengler. But when it’s not being heartfelt, it’s being a great family action comedy – and those are even rarer than ghosts these days.Directed by Jason Reitman. Starring Finn Wolfhard, McKenna Grace, Carrie Coon, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray. Running time: 124 minutes. Theatrical release November 19, 2021. Updated November 24, 2021
Watch the trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Rating & Content Info
Why is Ghostbusters: Afterlife rated PG-13? Ghostbusters: Afterlife is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for supernatural action and some suggestive referencesViolence: A man is cartoonishly torn in half after coming back from the dead. Characters are seen in situations of dire peril. Demonic spirits possess main characters. Ghosts wreak havoc on a community. A man is killed by a ghost. Ghostly monsters chase people.
Sexual Content: There are a few mild sexual innuendoes and a scene which suggests sexual content off-screen.
Profanity: There are four scatological curses and scarce use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are references to alcohol and drunkenness, but characters are not seen using substances of any kind.
Page last updated November 24, 2021
Ghostbusters: Afterlife Parents' GuideCallie struggles with the subject of her father. Why did he choose to leave his family behind? Do you think that choice had any positive outcomes? What were some of the negative outcomes, apart from Callie's personal challenges? What "broke up" the original Ghostbusters? How do you think they might have stayed together? What does Phoebe learn about making friends in a strange place? How can you reach out to new students at your school?
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Obviously, fans will want to watch the original 1984 classic Ghostbusters. Fans of the original may want to avoid the 2016 film Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, which despite an ensemble cast, struggles to keep up. Other supernatural or paranormal action comedies include Casper, The Mummy, Men in Black, Haunted Mansion, and for adult audiences, The Dead Don’t Die, which also features the incomparable Bill Murray. Those looking for more of Murray, Reitman, or Harold Ramis might enjoy Caddyshack, Stripes, Meatballs, or Groundhog Day.