We have a ghost movie review: Christopher Landon creates fantastically eccentric horror movies that transcend the current cynicism of the genre. In the creation of films like “Happy Death Day,” “Happy Death Day 2U,” and “Freaky,” he avoids the pretence of “elevated horror.”
Whatever you may think of their overall quality or execution, no one can deny that Landon was having a joy while creating them.
When Landon is permitted to be silly in a way that just makes the audience smile, his most recent film, “We Have a Ghost,” is at its best. Unfortunately, his screenplay isn’t as good as his directing, as the film drags on for far too long and has too many endings, even as it appears satisfied to repeat themes and visuals rather than expanding on the important ideas presented throughout the movie. Ultimately, it’s a good diversion, which is all most Netflix users want, but I’m hoping he makes “Happy Death Day 3” before returning to this world.
The first scene of “We Have a Ghost” shows the Presley family moving into a Chicago fixer-upper, which is based on a short tale by Geoff Manaugh named Ernest. Parent Frank (Anthony Mackie), whose relationship with his estranged son Kevin (Jahi Di’Allo Winston, who was excellent in “Charm City Kings” and “Everything Sucks!”), is deteriorating, is fighting to make ends meet. Soon after they arrive, Kevin is in the attic looking about when he comes upon Ernest, a trapped soul (David Harbour, giving a silent performance). Since his death in the 1970s, Ernest has been frightening away residents despite his inability to speak. Kevin doesn’t experience fear. He records Ernest on his phone, and then all of a sudden, a viral ghost appears.
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Imagine if there was a real ghost roaming around YouTube and TikTok.
What would take place? Landon only has people, including a man dressed as Jesus, screaming outside the Presley home instead of doing nearly enough with this complex idea. It’s fascinating to see Frank attempt to act as a sort of cultural agent by using Ernest’s existence as a financial boost. In one sequence that has one of the movie’s most amazing special effects and a potential Jennifer Coolidge appearance that might become a meme, he even hires a local medium for a contact with Ernest. But not enough has been done to explore the implications of evidence for an afterlife. It doesn’t have to be extremely philosophical, but even a little shallow investigation may have filled this concept out a bit.