Moving into the place, Phoebe (Grace) and Trevor (Wolfhard) discover a lot of strange stuff happening around town — starting with all those unexplained earthquakes — and some nifty artifacts among grandpa’s possesses. Phoebe possesses scientific acumen far beyond her years, while her brother mostly just crushes on one of his new classmates (Celeste O’Connor).
Cleverly, the film (written by Jason Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Gil Kenan) does set up a dense mythology connecting this flurry of spectral shenanigans back to the 1980s, while playfully incorporating visual touches that recall the “Ghostbusters” of the past. There are also funny unrelated gags, such as Rudd’s character getting through summer school by simply running wildly inappropriate horror movies.
At its best “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” simply delivers a good time, combining the upgraded special effects with comedy and youthful angst, while taking a little too long to get to the good stuff.
Broken down into those components, the younger Reitman has dutifully answered the call to carry on his family legacy, without quite conjuring the kind of sparks that would have made “Afterlife” completely rise to the occasion.
“Ghostbusters: Afterlife” premieres Nov. 19 in US theaters. It’s rated PG-13.