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Introduction: We Have a Ghost (2023)
Christopher Landon‘s We Have a Ghost (2023) is no different in creating a wonderfully idiosyncratic horror film that challenges the cynicism often associated with the genre today. His unique approach, previously demonstrated in films such as “Happy Death Day”, “Happy Death Day 2U” and “Freaky”, infuses his work with an infectious sense of joy that makes him a should be different. While his films may not consistently score top marks in terms of performance or quality, there’s one thing you can’t deny – Christopher Landon knows how to have a blast making them. His latest, “We Have a Ghost” (2023), continues in this vein, offering moments of genuine enjoyment amid its supernatural escapades.
A strange beginning in the windy city:
“We Have a Ghost” begins with the Presley family moving to a glamorous fixer-upper in downtown Chicago. Frank Presley (Anthony Mackie), a struggling father trying to juggle the demands of life while reconnecting with his increasingly estranged son Kevin (Jahi Di’Allo Winston), is the main character. the heart of this story. Soon after settling in, young Kevin stumbles upon a secret in the attic – a trapped spirit named Ernest (David Harbor), a ghost that has haunted the house since the 70s. Armed with his trusty smartphone, Kevin records Ernest’s spooky antics, unintentionally turning them into spooky content that goes viral online.
Ghostly reputations and missed opportunities:
The premise of “We Have a Ghost” is certainly brimming with potential, exploring the intriguing concept of what could happen if a real ghost became an internet phenomenon on platforms like TikTok and YouTube. Unfortunately, the film does not fully exploit this appealing idea. Instead of delving deeper into what it means to prove the existence of an afterlife, the story shifts focus to occult scientist Dr. Leslie Monroe (Tig Notaro) and her CIA superior, Arnold Schipley (Steve Coulter), turns the movie into a chase and Road movie.
Performance highlights and lack of urgency:
David Harbor gives a quietly effective performance as Ernest, while Jahi Di’Allo Winston continues to show his potential as a young talent to watch. However, “We Have a Ghost” lacks the sense of urgency that elevated Landon’s previous work. The film unnecessarily stretches its runtime with multiple endings, revisiting themes without building upon its initial promise. A tighter edit, similar to what was seen in “Freaky” and “Happy Death Day”, could have greatly benefited the film.
A logical shift in the streaming world:
Despite its shortcomings, “We Have a Ghost” survives in the sea of Netflix originals. While it may not reach the heights of massive success, the film provides satisfactory entertainment for audiences looking for a casual and light-hearted viewing experience. While it may leave some longing for the energetic storytelling and tight pacing of Landon’s earlier works, “We Have a Ghost” serves as a reminder that sometimes, a little supernatural silliness is all one needs for a night of online entertainment.
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