Free the spirit: Ghostbusters heads to the ‘Afterlife’…

With a cast two generations away from the original, will 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife' resurrect the franchise?

Who you gonna call?¬† That’s the legendary question and next year the answer will still be ‘Ghostbusters‘ though it looks like the journey will take audiences out of New York, out into the rural plains of Oklahoma and possibly even into the ‘Afterlife‘.

The original two films were smash-hit successes and remain a strong cinematic memory for more than one generation. The 2016 reboot, directed by Paul Feig, was a re-imagining of the core concept but with mainly female leads (Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones alongside Chris Hemsworth) and was more problematic and controversial – though that was arguably down to mixed-message marketing rather than the quality of the finished film – with all the main cast otherwise on decent form. (Was it a sequel, a prequel or just a reboot… different people said different things and even the film seemed to want it both ways).

The 2020 entry, directed by Jason Reitman (son of the original films helmsman, Ivan Reitman) looks to be combining old and new. The surviving members of the original Ghostbusters may not be seen in the trailer except via old tv footage, but they are expected to be involved in some way – even Bill Murray who had been a famous hold-out seems likely to appear. Paul Rudd (Antman/Avengers: Endgame), Carrie Coon (The Sinner) and Bokeem Woodbine (Fargo/Halo) also star. But it’s clear from the trailer that the film could well be tonally different from the first two movies that were essentially comedy moments with a plot built around them and the personalities of the cast. Here, with a distinctly younger ensemble at the forefront (including Stranger Things‘ Finn Wolfhard and The Haunting of Hill House‘s McKenna Grace ) the tone seems to be more of a counterbalance – an adventure with some comedic moments in the mix. Indeed, it seems purpose-built for the Stranger Things generation. The set-up is that the grandchildren of Spengler (originally played by the late Harold Ramis) arrive in Oklahoma to set up home, far away from their financial troubles, in their late grandfather’s rickety old home. But there’s a secret beneath the house and the neighbouringing land… and a world that’s moved on from things that go ‘bump in the night’ is about to get a worrying wake-up call…

It’s been a strong week or so for anticipated trailers (No Time to Die, Black Widow, Wonder Woman 1984 etc), but this could be the film with most multi-generational appeal if handled well… even if, so far, there’s barely a note of its iconic theme music…

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set to open 10th July 2020.