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Ghostbusters: Afterlife Reviews Are In, Here's What Critics Are Saying About The Highly-Anticipated Sequel

young ghostbusters in 2021's Ghostbusters: Afterlife
(Image credit: Sony)

One of the most beloved movies of the ‘80s is certainly Ghostbusters, which assembled Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Ernie Hudson and Harold Ramis as hunters of the supernatural around New York City. Paul Feig brought back the franchise in 2016 with the all-female revamp that has come to be defined by its viral trolls. Next month, Ghostbusters: Afterlife will once again revisit the series, and the reviews are officially in. 

Ahead of its November release, Ghostbusters: Afterlife has been screened for the press, and critics are giving us an idea of what to expect from the family-action flick. We’ll start off with CinemaBlend’s review by our very own Sean O’Connell, who was mostly indifferent on where Jason Reitman takes the franchise. He gave the movie a 3 out of 5 and said this: 

McKenna Grace makes the franchise her own, instead of borrowing a part in someone else’s game. Bustin’ might have felt better if the rest of the movie committed to that revolution, but for now, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a sometimes rousing, sometimes amusing, and sometimes unbalanced continuation of a beloved franchise that Hollywood doesn’t want to see die.

O’Connell’s highest compliment was to the film’s young star McKenna Grace, who is playing Egon’s granddaughter, Phoebe. He really loved what was done with her character in particular but felt the more nostalgic beats like bringing in the original cast was a let down. Entertainment Weekly's Christian Holub was even lower on the movie, sharing these words along with his ‘C+’ grade:

Anyone looking for connections to the original '80s blockbusters will find what they're looking for, but it's hard to imagine Ghostbusters: Afterlife minting a new generation of fans.

That’s not to say, the consensus of Ghostbusters: Afterlife is negative. For every thumbs down, there’s a couple more positive reviews hyping the movie up. Deadline's Pete Hammond, for example, found it to be the movie fans have been “waiting for,” saying this in his review:

Perhaps the real star here is Jason Reitman who, like Phoebe, rediscovers and reinvents his own family cinematic legacy and in doing so provides a warm, funny, exciting, nostalgic, emotional, and altogether winning return to the pure joy of that 1984 classic by making something that also seems very new in all the right ways.

Director Jason Reitman is the son of Ivan Reitman, who helmed the first two Ghostbusters films. This makes the movie as much about family and legacy off screen as it is on screen. While it serves as a sequel to the original movies, its takes place in rural Oklahoma (a change-up from New York) and focuses on a new group of characters, including a teen played by Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard and a teacher, played by Paul Rudd. Rosie Knight of IGN also really enjoyed the new take on the franchise, recommending it to newcomers as much as die-hard fans:

Afterlife harks back to the age of The Goonies, but with a thoroughly modern twist. As the burgeoning ghost hunters try to save their town and themselves, there are enough Easter eggs to make a grown man cry. But those who’ve never watched a Ghostbusters movie are still in for a very fun ride, filled with cool creature work, awesome action, and more.

Eric Francisco of Inverse was also impressed with Afterlife, finding that the movie really brought the movie series into the present day with its action and storyline. In his words: 

[T]he movie is keenly aware of the original’s most important legacy: its genre-blend of action, comedy, and horror. Afterlife takes the 1984 film and cranks up the volume for 2021. The action is more visceral — a midpoint chase with the Ecto-1 could encourage Fast & Furious to take notes — while the series’ unique flavor of horror is more fierce than the originals could dream.

While the critical reception of Ghostbusters: Afterlife is not without some qualms, it looks like the upcoming movie is mostly getting the thumbs up from critics. The movie is coming to theaters on November 19. To keep track of other upcoming films, take a look at CinemaBlend’s 2021 release schedule

Sarah El-Mahmoud

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.