Phoebe Spengler (Mckenna Grace) lives with her mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), and her big brother, Trevor (Finn Wolfhard). Times have been tough, and they’re facing eviction from their small apartment. When Phoebe’s estranged grandfather dies, leaving them to sort out his dilapidated farmhouse in the tiny town of Summerville, Oklahoma, Callie decides that the best thing to do is move the family there.
The family quickly realise that Summerville is not an ordinary town and that their grandfather was not an ordinary person. Phoebe is intrigued by the unusual equipment she finds in her grandfather’s secret underground laboratory, and she uses her extraordinary engineering skills to restore them. With unexplained tremors plaguing the town and a spooky prophecy to untangle, it’s not long before the weird equipment becomes very useful.
Along with her friend ‘Podcast’ (Logan Kim), her goofy teacher Gary Groober (Paul Rudd), her brother Trevor and his new friend Lucky (Celeste O’Connor), Phoebe must save the town from destructive supernatural forces.
Supernatural forces; ghosts; demons; science; engineering; family; friendship
Ghostbusters: Afterlife has some violence. For example:
- Supernatural forces often threaten violence, but no-one is physically harmed.
- A tiny marshmallow man bites Gary Groober on the finger, then a rabid demon dog chases him.
- The children use weapons to capture the ghosts and get them into a trap. The weapons look like laser guns.
- Phoebe’s friend is recording Phoebe walking into her grandfather’s property. When she asks him why, he replies, ‘Just in case your body is pulled apart into tiny pieces by a dark force’.
- The teacher is showing movies to the children in his summer class. He has chosen the horror movies Kujo and Chucky, which can be seen on a small TV screen in the background.
- A ghost fires pellets of metal out of its mouth like bullets. They fly directly at the children chasing him.
- A fearsome demon dog chases people threateningly.
- The children discuss ritualised violence and mention virgin sacrifice. The meaning of this term isn’t explained.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife has some romantic and sexual references. For example:
- Phoebe’s teenage brother, Trevor, sees a girl and is attracted to her. They flirt mildly throughout the story.
- There is a spark of attraction between Callie, Phoebe’s mother, and the teacher, Gary Groober.
- When Phoebe and Podcast see Mr Groober flirting with Phoebe’s mother, Podcast says, ‘He wants to bone your mum’.
- Mr Groober is trying to explain why he has brought Phoebe home, and he gets flustered and says that he’s ‘an escort’. This makes Phoebe’s mother look at him suspiciously and he gets even more embarrassed.
- The children talk about what might have been sacrificed to the gods in the temple and jokingly mention sacrificial virgins, but without any explanation of the concept.
- Phoebe’s mother and Gary Groober embrace and kiss passionately while they are possessed by demons. When they return to normal, they suggest that things went further and sex is implied.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Ghostbusters: Afterlife shows some use of substances. For example:
- Phoebe’s mother, Callie, is asleep at the dining table with a half-finished glass of wine by her head.
- Callie mentions that she hopes there is a bar in town.
Nudity and sexual activity
Ghostbusters: Afterlife has some mild nudity. For example, a teenage girl and boy are changing their clothes in the same room. He’s slightly embarrassed when she removes her top and he glimpses her bra.
Ghostbusters franchise and merchandise are displayed in this Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is an entertaining reboot of the classic 1980s Ghostbusters franchise. Fans of the original movies will love the references and cameo appearances, and younger audiences will enjoy the ghostbusting action, witty humour and frequent horror thrills, even if they’re not familiar with the original. The central character, Phoebe, is a great role model for all children. She’s not afraid to use her brains and creativity to solve complex problems and act fast.
Because of its scary scenes, scary characters, coarse language and sexual references, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is best suited to families with children over 12 years. Also, we recommend parental guidance for children aged 10-12 years.
The main message in Ghostbusters: Afterlife is to appreciate the talents you have and to use them for the greater good.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include bravery, ingenuity, curiosity and independence.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife could also give you the chance to talk about the real-life consequences of situations like the following:
- Callie, Phoebe’s mother, is convinced that her father was selfish and didn’t love her. She bitterly resents him. You could talk with your children about why her father needed to distance himself from his family and how that could have been handled differently.
- Mr Groober, the summer teacher, shows the class horror movies like Kujo and Chucky. You could talk with your children about why this is inappropriate.