“We Have a Ghost” is a horror-comedy that defies the usual cynicism of the genre, with a quirky concept that turns the paranormal on its head. Director Christopher Landon brings his trademark infectious joy to the film, and it’s a refreshing change from the typical horror fare that leaves audiences feeling uneasy.
The story follows the Presley family as they move into a run-down house in Chicago, with father Frank (Anthony Mackie) struggling to keep his relationship with his son Kevin (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) intact. But when Kevin discovers a ghost named Ernest trapped in the attic, things start to get interesting. Unlike most kids in horror movies, Kevin isn’t scared of the ghost – he’s intrigued by it. He starts filming Ernest with his phone, and before he knows it, the ghost has gone viral on social media.
The film’s central concept of a ghost going viral on TikTok and YouTube is rich and intriguing, but the movie doesn’t do enough with it. Landon doesn’t explore the idea of what proof of the afterlife would mean, but even a shallow exploration could have added some depth to the film. Instead, the story shifts focus to a paranormal scientist named Dr. Leslie Monroe (Tig Notaro) and her CIA boss Arnold Schipley (Steve Coulter), and the film becomes a chase/road movie in its midsection. The group tries to escape armed guards and get to the bottom of why Ernest hasn’t moved on to the next plane of existence.
The film’s cast delivers strong performances, with Jahi Di’Allo Winston standing out as a future star. His chemistry with David Harbour is impressive, and Harbour’s performance is effective in a role that could have been over the top without any dialogue. Anthony Mackie also delivers a strong performance as the struggling father, and Notaro and Coulter provide much-needed comedic relief.
However, the film’s writing isn’t as sharp as its directing, and it goes on way too long with multiple endings that repeat ideas and lack urgency. This is something that Landon’s other movies, such as “Freaky” and “Happy Death Day,” didn’t suffer from. Despite its flaws, “We Have a Ghost” is a decent diversion that doesn’t fade into the dull background of Netflix originals.
The film’s heart and themes of family and acceptance add a layer of emotional depth that sets it apart from other horror-comedies. The movie’s humor and horror elements are well-balanced, and the film’s concept is unique and intriguing. It’s a fun ride that will leave audiences with a smile on their faces, even if it could have done more with its ideas.
“We Have a Ghost” is a quirky and fun horror-comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Landon’s direction is infectious, and the cast delivers strong performances. While the movie’s writing could have been sharper, it’s still an entertaining distraction that will satisfy viewers.