The obvious 80’s aesthetic, teenagers against the world, and a supernatural companion in a Netflix production — nothing we haven’t seen before
Last Updated: 03.54 AM, Feb 27, 2023
Story: A family moves into their new house and the youngest child Kevin discovers it is haunted by a ghost named Ernest. Instead of fleeing, Kevin’s opportunistic dad views it as a means of making a quick buck by creating a YouTube channel. The ghost and Kevin’s family soon become internet sensations, as Kevin tries to help Ernest uncover the truth about his death. However, they soon become targets of the CIA.
Review: The film comes from writer-director Christopher Landon who is best known for the Paranormal Activity film franchise, but more recently he has been venturing into horror with a comic twist with films such as Freaky (2020) and Happy Death Day 2U (2019). For this project, he goes for a kid-appropriate setting without unnecessary jump scares and blood spatters but with a likeable ghost who doesn't know how to be a ghost. From the first scene, where a terrified family flees the creepy house in the middle of the night, one would expect a vicious ghost. But it ends up being an obvious misdirect.
The setting is fairly simple — a family moves into a new house with a Victorian gothic feel and it turns out to be haunted. As in the case of most films of a similar I the youngest son Kevin. He is the relatable sensible teen who has never had a normal childhood ilk, there is always someone in the family who doesn't like the new house, and in this case, it's because of his father (Anthony Mackie) and his antics, his older brother is like any older brother; always pulling his leg, and a mother who is too tired to have his back. Not so surprisingly, he befriends the ghost wearing a bowling shirt with the name Ernest engraved in it. We are also met with the fun quirky neighbour, who ticks all the boxes of a stereotypical Asian, and her manic pixie dream girl vibe is hard to miss.
The film has taken inspiration from the 80s and 90s supernatural flicks such as Beetlejuice or Casper. Many of the cast members are from popular franchises, David Harbour is of Stranger Things fame and Anthony Mackie who have had several hits before but definitely got his worldwide fame as Falcon in the MCU. Jennifer Coolidge, the veteran actress who has recently garnered a lot of accolades for starring in The White Lotus.
The lovable antics of Ernest the ghost is entertaining, and the overarching mystery of his death keeps us intrigued but the awkward and extraneous scenes are too evident. A Ghostbusters inspiration is also seen but this time we are rooting for the ghost rather than the bizarre scientist and the evil guards with ghost-killing machines. But the question arises, is David Harbour’s mute lovable ghost enough to save this film? With the lack of creativity and originality, the answer is leaning towards a ‘no’.
Verdict: The characters, the production value, and the storyline of We have a Ghost are enough for it to be a crowd-pleaser. The unoriginality and overdone plot kill the accepting performances.