|Original title:||We have a ghost|
|Running time:||126 minutes|
|Release date:||24 february 2023|
"This was one of those real jolts, a shock of inspiration. The short story presented such a fresh take on a ghost story, and I felt like it took a lot of old tropes and inverted them, which I really like to do as a filmmaker and storyteller. It was an opportunity for me to make a film that was an homage and a love letter to my childhood, and to everything Amblin. That was really the primary inspiration. I really felt that there was a kind of E.T. quality to the story that I loved. What Geoff did so well was make really interesting and complicated characters in such a short time. It's a very economical short story, but it has a lot to offer." - Christopher Landon
Director and screenwriter Christopher Landon never ceases to amaze us and to offer us films that perfectly mix different genres such as thriller, comedy, fantasy. After having signed the screenplay of several films of the cinematographic saga Paranormal Activity (and directed the fifth part), we feel a real desire on his part to offer films that are closer to him as Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse (2015), Happy Death Day (2017) and its sequel Happy Death Day 2U (2019) and especially the excellent Freaky (2020). We find in each of these films a will to propose films based on mastered scenarios and offering several twists.
Rich in interesting ideas, this film enthusiast has managed to establish himself as a gifted director capable of transcending simple films into outstanding works and his previous film Freaky was his best to date. His seventh film is based on a short story by Geoff Manaugh (Ernest), of which he keeps the central idea and adds many themes and especially his will to pay tribute to the Amblin company (we will think strongly of E.T) but also to the films of his past and we can mention in particular Ghostbusters but also Ghost (of which an extract is broadcasted on a television in a scene of this film) and Poltergeist.
Looking for a fresh start in Chicago, the Presley family moves into a dusty house and is confronted by a ghost in the attic named Ernest (David Harbour). Despite Ernest's attempts to scare Kevin (Jahi Winston), one of the family's two children, the detached, music-obsessed teenager soon finds a kindred spirit in this trapped '70s soul and vows to help him.
Meanwhile, Kevin's affable yet stern father Frank (Anthony Mackie) seeks to capitalize on Ernest by turning him into a social media sensation. When Frank's video of Ernest goes viral and captures the world's attention, the family lands on the radar of Dr. Leslie Monroe (Tig Notaro), a vengeful paranormal scientist who alerts her former boss, CIA Deputy Director Arnold Schipley (Steve Coulter), by re-launching a clandestine program to capture a ghost. As the mob, reporters and government agents descend on the Presley home, it's up to Kevin and Joy (Isabella Russo), his quick-witted outcast neighbor, to break Ernest out, uncover the mysteries of his past and bring him the closure he needs before it's too late.
While successful fantasy comedies have been rare in recent years and have even fallen into disuse in the face of blockbusters bloated with special effects and too often lacking a real desire to break out of a predefined model, We Have a Ghost takes us back to the films of the 80s and 90s that marked our memories. Certainly the director and screenwriter Christopher Landon is very important to set the scene of his films in our society today by pointing out the superficiality of social networks and the difficulties of communication whether it is here through the family at the center of the story or the difficult relationship of their young son with his classmates or his best friend who also seems to suffer from the way the other students in their school treat her.
In the same way the director Christopher Landon knows perfectly how to choose his important roles, whether it is Jessica Rothe in Hapy death day, Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton in Freaky or again here, David Harbour and Anthony Mackie. Central character of the cult series Stranger Things and after having played in the equally excellent Violent Night (2022), David Harbour proves to be a good actor who does not hesitate to take risks as embodied here a mute character whose emotions must be strengthened to make his character endearing and make him an anti-hero par excellence
Even if the story seems to be divided in two parts (the first one reminding the presence of E.T in an American family with this ghost who wanders in this house and the second one getting closer to a police investigation and the research of Ernest's past when he was still human), the rhythm remains perfect and immerses the spectators in a nostalgic atmosphere. Kevin, his friend and Ernest will face the many dangers of the outside world as they leave the comfortable cocoon of their home. Once again the director Christopher Landon delivers an excellent film and we are already looking forward to his next one.
We have a ghost
Written and directed by Christopher Landon
Story by Geoff Manaugh
Produced by Marty Bowen and Dan Halsted
Starring Jennifer Coolidge, David Harbour, Anthony Mackie, Niles Fitch, Isabella Russo
Director of Photography: Marc Spicer
Editor: Ben Baudhuin
Production companies: Legendary Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment
Distributed by Netflix
Release date: February 24, 2023 (United States, France)
Running time: 126 minutes
Viewed on February 21, 2023 (Screener Netflix)