[Movie Review] WE HAVE A GHOST

Christopher Landon has made a name for himself in the horror genre, writing and directing movies that might not have broken box office records, but fans are still talking about them. Personally, I noticed his name when he became attached to the Paranormal Activity franchise. However, his bigger endeavors like Happy Death Day and Freaky were instant cult classics. Due to Landon’s charming scripts and inventive kills, the films made him a director to watch. That reputation continues right now as we have the Netflix exclusive WE HAVE A GHOST.

A family moves into a large fixer-upper at a low cost where one of their sons, Kevin, finds a ghost in the attic. The ghost, Ernest (David Harbour), attempts to scare him off, but Kevin is humored by him and records him on his smartphone. This leads to Kevin creating a YouTube channel, uploading videos of his family’s experiences with Ernest. Ernest becomes a viral sensation, even leading to those cringe-inducing Tik Tok challenges we are forced to hear about on a daily basis. The CIA takes notice and gets involved with wanting to investigate Ernest. However, Kevin flees with him in an attempt to unravel his past and how he became a ghost.

Playing as both writer and director, Landon utilizes WE HAVE A GHOST as an homage to the supernatural and science fiction family-friendly movies our generation grew up on. While watching, two movies, in particular, came to mind: E.T. and Casper. An angst exists within the child that only this entity can provide warmth to and Ernest is that warmth for Kevin in WE HAVE A GHOST. It adds an emotional arc that doesn’t feel manufactured. These movies stick to our hearts because they induce comfort and nostalgia that brings us to a safe space.

Harbour is allowed to have some fun here as Ernest. Previous roles played on his sex appeal, but he actually gets a chance to show off some comedic skills. He has experience with nostalgia due to his involvement with “Stranger Things,” but that last season didn’t really give him much to do except wander around. Here, he has a purpose and that helps us believe in the friendship between him and Kevin. Jennifer Coolidge is a natural comedic talent and her outrageousness is on full display as a TV medium with a colorful wig. She’s always been a scene stealer, but her latest roles have given her the A-list status she deserves as seen here in WE HAVE A GHOST.

The cast overall creates a warm ensemble, but as a fun, family-oriented movie, this shouldn’t be any longer than 100 minutes. Family dynamics are explored a bit too upfront, even though their interactions already tell us their story. Scenes of exposition are not always needed as the actors’ performances have clearly done the job. That might be a producer input as we have to make sure the angst is on that screen.

While WE HAVE A GHOST overstays its welcome at over two hours, it’s easy to see that it will find a home in the hearts of a new generation of young horror fans.

WE HAVE A GHOST arrives on Netflix Friday, February 24th.

Jovy Skol
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