The Pitch: Trying to tell a really good 21st-century Ghostbusters story seems to be an enterprise guaranteed to make absolutely no one happy. Which already makes Ghostbusters: Afterlife a depressing venture right out of the gate; one can almost sense director Jason Reitman screaming from the sidelines, “Are you nerds happy now?!?” Unfortunately, as much as Afterlife openly seeks to draw upon nostalgia from the original, a lot of fans may find the taste of their youth to be curdled by the level of pandering involved.
Things begin with the reveal that one of the original Ghostbusters (the movie gets a bit coy about this, but it’s Egon Spengler, who was played by the recently deceased Harold Ramis) had left his friends and moved to Summerville, Oklahoma in the years before his death.
Following his death, his long-estranged daughter Callie (Carrie Coon) packs up her kids and their big city life to take advantage of the inheritance waiting for them in Summerville — specifically, Egon’s farm and workshop, which contains all the trappings of his former life as a Ghostbuster, plus plenty of evidence that his move to this small town was inspired by a lot of something strange happening in that particular neighborhood.
You Know, For Kids: Afterlife is notably something that the original was not: a family film. The 1984 movie was rated PG, but that’s a pre-Temple of Doom PG, and some of the more explicit sexual references are still pretty striking to a modern audience.