Stars: **** out of 4
Summary: Hilarious, scary, accessible fun.
Review: Oh my God, this is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen in my life! Okay, maybe not, but it’s definitely up there. This is what we call a “comedy”, ladies and gents, which I make a point of pointing out since we seem to have forgotten what exactly that is. You see, a long time ago people went to movies to experience the phenomenon dubbed “laughter” typically accompanied by “fun” and an overall sense of narrative satisfaction — and sometimes they even brought the kids! Okay, maybe I’m going over the top, but the point is they don’t make movies like this anymore. ‘Ghostbusters’ is like a flash in the pan. There’s only a few comedies I can put on its level, all of which shall be reviewed!
I’m not going to tell you the story, darn it! If you don’t know it, shame on you! Go see this movie now!
This movie works because it actually doesn’t try to wring out as many jokes from its premise as it can, which is a common mistake for films of its type. Instead, it relies almost wholly on creating fun characters with great chemistry who naturally produce comedy. It’s like magic! And, crucial too is the application of real suspense and nightmarish special effects. This isn’t a total farce, this is a credible fantasy film. If I don’t think some of the ghosts are scary, then I can’t laugh at them either. It’s a paradox.
What ‘Ghostbusters’ represents to me is the perfect balance of horror and comedy. I don’t mean slasher or zombie horror, I mean like ‘Poltergeist’ horror. There are plenty of films that mix the two, to be sure, but none so pure a balance as ‘Ghostbusters’. I least that I’ve seen. Feel free to suggest a rival. Anywho, ‘Ghostbusters’ was a big part of my childhood and was kind of the gateway drug into darker, scarier movies that I couldn’t stomach before — when I was 9, I mean. I saw ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ before ‘Ghostbusters’, but it scared the mellow yellow out of me, and seeing a film both fun and freaky like GB opened my eyes to the awesomeness of Indy. My life was fun that way.
This is also a movie that helped form my opinion of the horror genre in general. I’ve mostly been opposed to it until recently. I don’t like many horror movies. I tend to find them unentertaining at best and sickening and gutwrenching at worst, the latter of which, actually, many of them aim for. I prefer the concept of a film that uses eerie, otherworldly imagery to help us deal with childhood phobias and confront evil in our adult lives. A great scary picture can have the greatest potential as a morality play or message movie. There’s something about the nature of it that can make it seem less anvilicious.
‘Ghostbusters’ is the definitive family action/horror/comedy film. I like it.