Now more than ever, nostalgia is playing a major part in how Hollywood is picking and choosing its projects. Nothing is safe from a reboot/sequel these days, even the much-loved films of bygone eras, and after the much maligned 2016 version, Ghostbusters gets another sequel in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, a film fuelled by nostalgia but is it at the sake of making a good film?

After being evicted from their home, a single mother (Carrie Coon) and her two children (Finn Wolfhard and Mckenna Grace) are forced to move to a decayed farmhouse in Summerville, Oklahoma, left to them by the children's late grandfather, where a series of unexplained earthquakes are occurring despite not being situated on any fault and strange things are happening in an old mine which once belonged to the alleged occultist Ivo Shandor. The children discover the history of their grandfather with the original Ghostbusters, who have since been largely forgotten by the world beyond their fan base.
With the dust settled from the fallout of Paul Feig's flawed attempt at bringing this franchise to a new generation, Sony turned to Jason Reitman, son of the original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, to helm this effort. It's almost as if he's setting himself up to fail by making a sequel to not only a film adored by fans but one his own dad made. No pressure then. Keeping that in mind, Reitman does a great job in delivering a film that pays homage to what lay the foundation for this franchise to thrive while making it fresh and exciting for a new generation.

Along with Gil Kenan, he has written a legacy sequel that leans on nostalgia but not to the point of no return where it just becomes a carbon copy. It's a balancing act that is often treacherous but Ghostbusters: Afterlife is an emotionally driven fantasy film that, at its core, possesses so much heart and charm it's impossible not to get wrapped up in the emotion of it all by the end.

It's perfect fun for the whole family as well, sweet little comedic notes crossing with the neat minor scares scattered throughout. Afterlife very much utilises the popular Stranger Things vibe in having the kids be the ones to face off against the ghosts and it makes for entertaining viewing, the ghosts and ghouls brought to life through great visual effects work.

It's the younger cast that make this such an enthralling film, Mckenna Grace as Phoebe being the standout star of the piece as she continues to build on an already impressive career at such a young age. Logan Kim is a fun addition to the roster as Podcast, Phoebe's friend, while Carrie Coon and Paul Rudd bring their quality to proceedings in much more minor roles than expected. There's plenty of surprises along the way too, one in particular leaving a lump in my throat and I don't even have that strong a connection with the original film.

Proving that you don't have to try too hard to induce laughter from the audience and that nostalgia can be used to great effect, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is one hell of a cinematic joyride for the entire family. Bustin', once again, feels so good. 

Verdict: ★★★★


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