WE HAVE A GHOST (NETFLIX) (2023)
SYNOPSIS: Finding a ghost named Ernest haunting their new home turns Kevin's family into overnight social media sensations. But when Kevin and Ernest go rogue to investigate the mystery of Ernest's past, they become a target of the CIA.
If David Harbour is playing the live-action, older version of Casper the friendly ghost, then We Have A Ghost might be a much wackier, more entertaining flick than the current version.
The Presleys (Anthony Mackie playing the dad’s role) has just moved into their new home in Chicago looking for a fresh start. Shortly after, their younger son, Kevin (Jahi Winston) witnessed and film a ghost living in their attic, Ernest (Harbour). However, Ernest is as mentioned a friendly ghost who has somehow forgotten his past and also unable to speak.
Hoping to cash on the paranormal activity, dad went on to post the video on YouTube which results in a surge on social media and the attraction of the public and the CIA. Kevin on the other hand is dead against his dad’s entrepreneurship. Together with Joy, his next-door neighbor, all Kevin wants is to help Ernest uncover his past and reunites him with his long-lost daughter.
What ensues in the end is a series of gags that apparently fails to work up much energy among the characters or steer the plot ahead. There’s the obvious tension, communicative issues between father and son being Kevin is kind of tired of his dad’s constant enthusiasm about trying something new. Kevin’s newfound friendship with his equally quirky classmate and Asian neighbor Joy and the awkward Ernest trying to be scary and funny at the same time.
Then there is a subplot involving the CIA which for no reason has a project in nabbing the supernatural, something like the Ghostbusters led by Dr. Leslie Monroe (Tig Notaro) and Deputy Director Arnold (Steve Coulter). Adding to the mayhem is a prolonged car chase that never really adds much to the entire affair.
With the exception of an absolutely funny sequence whereby Ernest scares the hell out of a television medium played by Jennifer Coollidge, Christopher Landon known for his violent, hilarious Happy Death Day, Freaky wrote and directed We Have A Ghost although his trademark brand of horror comedy seems to be sorely missing right here.
We Have A Ghost has a heartfelt, poignant ending to it despite being too bloated at nearly two hours. It’s a forgettable PG13 flick that tries to be both scary, funny and ambitious something along the line of another Netflix production, The Curse of Bridge Hollow. Maybe Harbour should seriously consider playing Casper next time.
Review by Linus Tee