‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ movie review: Nostalgic in all the best ways

It’s always nice to spend a little family and friends time at the movies over the holidays, and if you’re looking for a recommendation everyone will like, the answer is: Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

If you’re looking for a great trip to the movies and you consider yourself a Ghostbusters fan, I highly recommend giving the newest incarnation, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a chance. It’s chock full of fun Easter eggs if you’ve seen the first movie (especially), but is plenty fun and watchable if you’ve never seen a Ghostbuster on screen before.

Kids will love following the young new characters as they investigate some weirdness going on in their town, especially when they meet Muncher and just how cuddly the ghosts can look. That cuddliness will be challenged by the end, as some familiar ghostly visages make appearances, but the kids will probably like those, too.

Following seamlessly in the footsteps of all the great Ghostbusters movies that have come before, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is equal parts scary, funny, warm, and inventive. It’s the perfect combo for a great trip to the movies, and makes this franchise one of the best to introduce to kids.

When we talk about scary, it’s not exactly on the scale of a horror movie. The scares in Ghostbusters: Afterlife come mostly from the quality of the baddies. There really aren’t too many jump scares, but moreso slow reveals of some admittedly creepy-looking creatures. If you’ve seen the original Ghostbusters, and/or showed it to your kids, there is nothing any scarier than what went down in that Manhattan apartment complex. If anything, taking the setting out of the city and into a rural community makes it a little less scary, mostly because whatever happens is bound to affect less people negatively.

Now, for the funny side of things, you really have to thank Paul Rudd. He’s used to his most effectiveness in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, popping in to lend some relief after a particularly tense scene or two. The kids also have quite a few laughs, especially when Logan Kim’s Podcast is on screen. There are a couple of other characters that get a few laughs, but we’ll keep the spoilers light and let you be surprised.

The warmness comes from the family of it all. When it comes to a movie that is good for all ages, it always helps to center it around the love of family. And that’s only part of why Ghostbusters: Afterlife works. It has a warm, gooey center waiting for you in its last bite, and getting there is every bit as enjoyable as enjoying your favorite dessert.

And as far as inventive goes, I’m always excited to see what a new Ghostbusters movie has in store for me. As someone who quite enjoyed the remake back in 2016 for what it was, I’m all for re-invention and changing up the pieces, as long as it breathes new life into a franchise that could have gone forgotten. Ghostbusters: Afterlife invents an incredible future for some fan favorite characters from the past, while also handing us a number of characters that can help carry on the legacy for the next 30-some years. I am also a fan of the new technologies and grand schemes that films like this can create.

Ultimately, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a great time at the movies. And its even better if you consider yourself a Ghostbusters fan. But don’t be discouraged if you’re going into this for the first time having never seen a Ghostbusters movie before. You won’t be disappointed, but there is also a treasure trove of fandom secrets and references waiting for you to discover.

So, if you need a break from holiday planning or shopping for gifts, let Ghostbusters: Afterlife distract, delight, and excite you for a couple of hours. It will leave you thrilled for this franchise to reach a whole new generation, and maybe a couple of older ones, too.