Ghostbusting gets serious in new Afterlife movie trailer

Remember when Ghostbusters was a comedy? Time marches on, my friend. Except maybe time should run. Now.

As Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) quips as he and his family dive for cover in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, “Hey, remember that one summer [when] we died under a table?”

Sony Pictures has released the first full-length trailer for the July 2020 movie, and yup, the ghosts are back. And they aren’t happy. Fortunately, ECTO-1 is still on the job. Thank you, Egon Spengler.

The new Ghostbusters film, the third installment of the original franchise (please disregard the 2016 reboot), is directed by Jason Reitman, son of series director Ivan Reitman, and Reitman II turns it up a notch from the original flick and the follow-up Ghostbusters II in 1989.

The story centers around teenaged Trevor (Wolfhard) and his younger sister Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), who accompany their mother to a town “in the middle of nowhere” to take possession of their grandfather’s creepy house and all that’s in it. The problem isn’t with the house, it’s with “all that’s in it”—or near it. It turns out that the kids’ grandfather was none other than Spengler, played by Harold Ramis in first two films, and what they discover turns into a search for the truth about good ol’ granddad and his legendary ghostbusting.

After the family arrives in town, paranormal activity erupts (quite literally, in one scene), which has Phoebe’s teacher Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd) wondering what in the world is going on.  “Somehow, a town that isn’t anywhere near a tectonic plate, that has no fault lines, no fracking, no loud music even, is shaking on a daily basis,” Grooberson says. The answers become clearer when Phoebe discovers a ghost trap, which she brings to school. Grooberson, clearly a fan of the original crew, calls it “a killer replica”… and then drops it when he realizes it’s the real deal.

Phoebe, who looks a lot like her dearly departed grandfather, finds a lot more than that. At one point, Trevor also makes an important discovery, locating the ghostbusting 1959 Cadillac ambulance known as ECTO-1 and immediately putting it into action.

Although original Ghostbusters co-stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson don’t appear in the trailer, we’d expect to see them reprise their roles, even if they’re just cameo appearances. Ramis, who died in 2014, will be missed, but even more conspicuous by its absence is the cartoonish Ghostbusters theme song. Not a note of it was heard in the trailer—more proof that Ghostbusters: Afterlife will be very different from its predecessors.

If you want comedy, you’ll have to stick to the first two movies (and the not-as-good remake). Even ECTO-1 looks more serious this time around.