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  • Writer's pictureCeris

Ceris' 31 Days of Horror Challenge: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

So I will admit I have already seen this film and I have to say I love it and think it is a very strong sequel to its predecessors.

We start the film on a thunderous mountain, with a car speeding away and crashing through the gates of Shandor Mining, followed by a growling gust of wind. The way they have done this is very clever, you don’t see Egon’s face, but you can tell that’s who it is. Egon has run or should I say hobbled from the car wreck and made it to his front door where he turns on a generator in an attempt to catch something. This however backfires when the generator gives up the ghost (pun intended) and Egon is alone, sat in his chair while the house fills with smoke in the form of Gozer, and Egon is unfortunately killed. It’s a nice touch when the PKE Meter lights up signalling Egon is still very much in play for this film.

A single mother and her two children move into a farmhouse inherited from her estranged father. As they settle in, they slowly discover their connections to a legendary team known as the Ghostbusters.

We find ourselves in the kitchen of an apartment, with a mother cutting her sons hair, while her daughter hot wires electric from the neighbour’s property. A knock on the door brings the landlord who promptly evicts the family, despite protests that the rent can be paid. And so, the family are on the road driving through little highway towns, before arriving in Summerville, where the teens biggest problem is a lack of WIFI. The family arrive at a run-down house with conspiracy message scrawled on boards at the entrance of the drive. After breaking into the house, the family discover how run down the property really is, all while unaware they are being watched but something otherworldly.

While hiding from a mini earthquake, Pheobe finds the PKE meter Egon was holding when he died under the chair. While they are examining it a figure walks through the door, who turns out to be Janine Melntiz (WE GOT ONE), who promptly informs them that the house is worthless and Egon in fact left a lot of debt for them to pay, despite never being part of their lives. Back in town, the family go to Spinners, an old-time diner where the servers bring food to your car while riding roller skates, much to the delight of Trevor who instantly has a crush on server Lucky. That night, while reading in her room, Pheobe is interrupted but an unknown force when the chess board on her bedside table launches itself across the room. I love the music at this point of the film as it brings in another element from the first film. Trevor, still on his mission to find signal, comes across a vehicle in the garage, but his phone light dies before he can see what it is.

The following day and the kids are starting their new school and Phoebe is warned to NOT be herself – seems a bit harsh to me. Callie runs into Mr Grooberson, and we watch a brief but awkward flirtatious conversation. Back in Grooberson’s class, Pheobe meets Podcast who talks to her about his podcast before they are interrupted but yet another earthquake. Much to Mr Groobersons surprise, Pheobe knows lots about earthquakes and being a seismologist, and he asks her for her opinion on what she thinks is causing them. Back at Spinners, Trevor has gotten a job and is completing inventory inside the freezer and tries to be manly when Lucky offer him her jacket, however recoils in horror to learn it’s in fact her boyfriend.

What do you call a dead polar bear? Anything you want now – Phoebe’s epic joke for Podcasts’ podcast. Having been told the history of the town, Pheobe and Podcast head up to Shandor’s mine (remember the one the car was speeding away from at the start?). Podcast tries to freak Phoebe out by telling her about the Shandorian curse, where miners launched themselves to their deaths down the mine shaft, but clearly Pheobe’s brain is too scientific as she hardly seems phased.

We move to our next link to the first film, where Trevor has uncovered the car in the shed and it turns out to be ECTO 1!! This can’t help but bring a smile to the face of any Ghostbusters fan. Podcast seems very flattered when Pheobe says she wants to listen to his podcast and agrees to be her lab partner, although he seems more concerned about her when he discovers she is the dirt farmers granddaughter. Inside the house, Phoebe discovers that the chess board has moved since earlier that morning, and she ends up playing chess with an unknown force, while the PKE meter flashes in the background. Following the reader, she ends up downstairs in the same chair Egon died in (bit weird if you ask me) and it spins her around and points her in the direction of the floor, where she plays a bit of Tetris and finds a secret compartment with a ghost trap in it.

The next day in Mr Grooberson’s classroom, they have moved on from Cujo to Childs Play (great choice of films as Adam said). Pheobe and Podcast are showing Mr Grooberson the trap, and he tells them all about the 1980’s in New York when the Ghostbusters saved the city. Paul Rudd is basically every Ghostbusters fan watching this film and loving every minute of it geeking out!

After school they rig up the trap to open it and we know exactly how well this will go – as they do Pheobe questions what 2 inches of plastic will do to save them, while putting on her safety goggles; she’s got a point. Starting the school bus, Grooberson stands on the trap release as the music builds and ….nothing happens. He edges closer and taps the trap, only for it to burst open and the unknown force go flying up to the Shandor Mine. As Grooberson makes a run for it – he is liable after all – Pheobe and Podcast realise that Pheobe’s grandfather is Egon, a Ghostbuster. Podcast and Grooberson go back to the dirt farm and are in awe of all the stuff – the Podcast blowing an Aztec Death Whistle, which Callie tells him to take and never use again! Grooberson tells Callie that he has always wanted to know what’s inside the house, and she proceeds to give him a tour of the house. While reading one of Egon’s books, Podcast find a picture of a Terror Dog and they realise just what they have let out of the trap.

Trevor gets invited up to the mountain with the other servers from Spinners, and while sitting in the lift directly above the mine with Lucky, the ground starts to rumble, and they see the face of a terror dog saying ‘Gozer’ through the smoke and they swiftly make their exit. Grooberson is clearly smitten with the dirt farm – and clearly also with Callie – when he finds an old map of Summerville which he takes. Pheobe is back on the PKE meter and walking the property to see what she can find. The meter takes her to an old shed, where she slides down a firemen’s pole (think we know where that came from), and into Egon’s secret underground bunker, that seems to welcome her in. Inside a locker, she finds Egon’s Ghostbusting suits, the remains of a crunch bar and his glasses, which are pretty much identical to hers. Also in the secret bunker, is a model of the house and the generators, which Pheobe examines, when suddenly the light that came on itself, shows her different things such as the Proton pack. Later that night, Callie tells Pheobe she has a date with Gary Grooberson – which Pheobe find hilarious.

Having fixed Egon’s proton pack she found in the bunker, Podcast and Pheobe head to an abandoned warehouse, and use the jet stream to smash some bottles – although it takes some time to get used to it! As they are about to swap, they hear an eerie noise coming from the warehouse and obviously go and investigate. Once inside, they finder Muncher. Thinking he is Billy Big Bollocks, Podcast blows the Aztec Death Whistle but Muncher launches shards of metal from its mouth in a bid to escape them. Pheobe manages to catch him in the ray, but they don’t get him into the trap in time and he escapes.

Back on the dirt farm, Trev has fixed Ecto 1 and takes it for a spin through the field next to the house – which ends with it on the road in front of Pheobe and Podcast. Callie and Gary are on their date, with Gary talking science and Callie telling him she has an allergy to science. Trevor, Pheobe and Podcast are in Ecto1, and Pheobe fills her brother in on what has happened and that Egon Spengler was their grandfather, when they hear over the radio a report of a creature eating cars …. its Muncher. Driving through town, they find him eating a fire hydrant, and Phoebe accidentally locates the car’s gunner seat, and the trio try to catch Muncher and get him into the trap.

After a hair-raising car ride that involves them accidentally destroying a large part of the town, and being shot at by Muncher, they manage to trap him in the portable trap, and in the nick of time as they almost crash into the bridge heading to the mine. Having trapped a ghost, they are heading home when they get arrested and Podcast is more excited about being in jail than he is concerned about what just happened, and Trevor gets tricked by Lucky, who father happens to be the sheriff – and delivers the iconic line – Who You Gonna Call?

Using her one phone call from jail, Pheobe doesn’t call her mother, but calls Ray Stanz and tells him she is calling about Egon, to which he replies Egon can rot in hell, before changing his mind when he learns Egon has died. However, Stanz reveals that the ghostbusting dried up and the team when their separate ways, but Egon freaked everyone out with his conspiracy theories and stole all the Ghostbusters equipment. Pheobe tries to explain what she has found in Summerville, but Ray Stanz warns her against hunting ghosts. The call is cut off when her mother arrives and shouts at them for joyriding, but Pheobe reacts badly when the police criticise her grandfather, and nearly destroys the police station with the proton gun.

Callie apologises to Gary about their car crash of a date, but Gary tells her its been a great night and that he doesn’t know how any future dates will top it – I mean it won’t be hard will it. Pheobe is angry with her mother that she didn’t tell her Egon was her grandfather, but Callie says she hates him for abandoning her. Gary heads to the store for a later night snack - who can blame him- when he walks past the marshmallows which seem to be moving.

Next thing a mini–Stay Puft Marshmallow man pops out of the bag and looks super cute till he bites Gary’s finger and then hundreds appear – they don’t care who get hurts, demonstrated by several of them riding a Roomba run over another leaving his guts smeared over the floor, and others proceed to make smores out of their friend. These little things were cute and ridiculously hilarious; it’s a great moment! Running away from the marshmallows, thinking he is heading to safety, Gary comes across a terror dog with its head in a bag of food. In his attempt to sneak away, he steps on a squeaky toy – those toys should be banned for being annoying – and must run for his life while the dog runs after him- the last we see of him is him being trapped inside his car – this isn’t going to end well.

The following day, Ghosbusters 2.0 (Pheobe, Trevor, Podcast & Lucky) are examining the map they found in the house, and Pheobe tells them the only way they will find out what is happening is to go to the mine. Once inside the mine – entered using the very dodgy looking lift, they find a large statue carved into the side of the mountain which they believe to be Gozer. Podcast thinks the second pit is a sacrificial death pit, which Lucky says if for virgins and takes the mick out of Trevor. The team find a list of dates carved into the wall, and Podcast reveals natural (or not so natural as it turns out) disasters that occurred in those years, with the final date being revealed as 2021 – the present day. They are interrupted by a low rumbling that seems to be emanating from the death pit, this is confirmed by the people trying to escape the pit, and the dead man not being dead anymore – this is stopped by more proton rays blasting together and causing those in the death pit to stay there. Pheobe realises that the earthquakes are cause when this happens, and Egon was still trying to save the world even when no one believed him.

Callie is home alone and looking for Phoebe when she finds the PKE meter which starts flashing when she picks it up. She follows its lead and finds herself in the bunker, where she realises her father didn’t abandon her at all but kept pictures of her growing up displayed there. It does worry me that no one seems freaked out by the lamp that no one is controlling but hey what do I know? Suddenly a fog descends down the firemans pole and the terror dog jumps out at Callie from the shadows – this is the one time I jumped during the film. The team arrive back at the house, and Callie is sat in the chair in the living room saying ‘There is no mom there’s only Zuul’ – and tries to hit on Podcast, before trying to bite Pheobe and escaping by jumping out the window.

Yet another earthquake occurs, but this one seems to be going on for much longer, and we learn that’s because Gary is possessed too and has used one of the proton beams in the mine to destroy the other packs – I mean its clever. Pheobe goes digging in the dirt on the property and realises that Egon set up the house to be a giant trap for the ghosts. This is when shit gets real.

Ghosbusters 2.0 don the boiler suits, and Pheobe explains how the trap works and what will happen for Gozer to be brought back to life – much to the disgust of Trevor who realises his mother is about to get to at least third base with the other soul – who turns out to be Gary. The team break into the police station to break out Ecto 1, the Proton Pack and the trap. They discover they are locked inside a jail within the jail, and the only way to get in is to let Muncher out and hope he eats through the bars – which obviously he does. With three of them in Ecto 1 and Lucky stealing a police car – they pull out of the station, which looks remarkably like the firehouse in New York and head up to the mountain, where they see Callie and Gary taking their place on the podiums and be turned into Terror Dogs. We also see the dead man escape the coffin and welcome Gozer who has also climbed out from its pit – but sadly he gets ripped in half like a piece of paper.

Pheobe walks out to speak to Gozer and tries to start a conversation by telling one of my favourite jokes – What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh!! I mean with jokes are awful however she is doing the trick of keeping them distracted – I did find it hilarious when Gozer asked Pheobe if she was willing to give herself in sacrifice and she was like ‘No I’m 12’! They manage to trap Callie Terror Dog in the trap and rescue human Callie who tries to fill them in on what they found – yes hun we are already aware and about 10 steps ahead of you, - but hey she is in with helping to save the world.

They make it back to the farm, where it seems every storm cloud ever is hovering over the house. Gozer has followed them and is making her way through the corn field, and Pheobe bravely/stupidly stands in front of her holding the trap. Callie pulls the level to try and trap Gozer Lucky appears from the house with a proton pack, the mini marshmallows cause havoc for Podcast and then the generator doesn’t work ……. Again. In the chaos Lucky gets turned into a terror dog and Gozer tries to go after Callie but is interrupted by the greatest team ever – The Ghostbusters.

They ‘light em up’ and hit Gozer with a ‘billion electron vaults’ however this Gozer seems to be more powerful that the last and throws the streams off her and send the ghostbusters flying. Bill Murray does make me laugh with his little speech about how they could have been a power couple, while sat catching his breath. A beam hits Gozer from behind and Pheobe is there – what happens next is the perfect homage to the original – Egon Spengler stood with his granddaughter, alongside his old team saving the day once again. Cue the tears. It was something really special about seeing the Egon back and four original Ghostbusters together on screen again. With Podcast toasting marshmallow men, Trevor kick starting the generator and Callie hitting the pedal to open all the traps, the ghosts of the underworld are caught once more.

The ghostbusters apologise to their departed friend, and Venkman comes over and thanks Callie and Pheobe for helping save the day. Gary and Lucky are rescued from inside the crusty outer layer of the Terror Dogs. Callie & Gary realise they had sex before become dogs, and Podcast learns that Stanz is the subscriber to his podcast. Egon gets to have a special moment with each member of his family, and it's made more special by the fact he doesn’t speak at all, his actions do the talking for him. He disappears as Callie hugs him, making me feel that all is now right with the world.

I do very much enjoy Sigourney Weavers cameo at the end of the credits – another great link to the original. Janine and Winston discuss their lives since their Ghostbusting days and Winston buys back the firehouse – and the film ends with one, blinking light ……..

I do really enjoy this film and I love that they haven’t tried too hard to copy the original, instead have continued the story. It’s a great watch for old and new Ghostbusters fans alike- almost a love letter and thank you to fans as well as a beautiful send off for our beloved Harold Ramis in one of his most famous roles. Couldn’t of asked for more from the film!

For Harold


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