We Have a Ghost (2023)
February 26, 2023 9:39 AM - Subscribe

[TRAILER] Finding a ghost named Ernest (David Harbour) haunting their new home turns Kevin (Jahi Di'Allo Winston) and his family (Anthony Mackie, Erica Ash, Niles Fitch) into overnight social media sensations. But when Kevin and Ernest investigate the mystery of Ernest's past, they become a target of the CIA.

Also starring Isabella Russo, Tig Notaro, Jennifer Coolidge, Faith Ford, and Bob the Drag Queen.

Written, directed, and co-produced by Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day). Music by Bear McCreary.

45% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

A Netflix original. JustWatch.
posted by DirtyOldTown (6 comments total)
This is the first Christopher Landon movie where I felt like, "OK, yeah, now I see that he is Michael Landon's son." It feels like his dad would have liked this one. Which, in a way, is to damn with faint praise, since Michael Landon's work was the epitome of sweet and fun, but sort of toothless, and a little sentimental.

This basically plays like Beetlejuice, if instead of a wild, fast-talking undead ghoul prankster at the center, it was more like a mute ghost version of the sad sack from Marty, and maybe also a fair bit of the sections of ET where a sensitive boy has to defend his vulnerable special friend from the government.

It's right on that edge where I had fun the entire time, but I'm hard-pressed to explain why it would be can't miss or anything and even attempting to do so makes my positive evaluation of it dissipate like a puff of smoke.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:43 AM on February 26, 2023

I watched this yesterday. I hadn't known what to make of it from the title/art when it first popped up in Netflix's 'New & Upcoming' lists, but when I saw it was a new Christopher Landon production I got my hopes up for something interesting, given how I loved the 'Happy Death Day' movies and 'Freaky'.

But, yeah, this one just didn't really gel. It's not funny enough for a comedy, and it's not scary/sad enough for horror. I wonder if it would have played better if they'd cast younger for Kevin? While the script needs him to be a teenager for stuff like the car chase, I think the sentimentality/schmaltz-factor/Amblin-homage would have worked better with a pre-teen lead.

I do want to praise the lighting/cinematography though. This was gorgeously lit -- never had a moment of struggling to see what was going on in the nighttime scenes, or of them lighting for white actors to the detriment of the black actors.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:26 PM on February 26, 2023 [1 favorite]

The black kid lead is so cute though - when he started to bloom when he made contact with the ghost, I was like, oh that's it, I see it. I hope this leads to good and better things. He's a star honestly.

Watched it because Anthony Mackie is always fun, and he definitely was. The story itself is very thin for its length, so I definitely checked the clock in the middle of it. Good thing I bought into the central relationship between Kevin and Ernest.
posted by cendawanita at 12:19 AM on February 27, 2023

Yeah - Jahi Di'Allo Winston did a perfectly fine job being the lead. His flirtation with the neighbor girl was cute, and he & David Harbour had a good rapport. I just didn't realize how much of a 'family friendly' movie this was going to be when I started watching considering how R-rated Landon's other movies are; if Kevin had been more of a little kid I might not have spent so long waiting for the other genre shoe to drop.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:03 AM on February 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

I thought this was fun enough while watching it, but afterward thinking back I wonder if it was originally pitched as a limited series? There were some very conspicuous story threads that just disappeared and had no real resolution, and scenes/characters that were given quite a bit of screen time but ultimately had little to no impact on the main narrative. It's an interesting case study in the Netflix production model in that this could have easily been either a 90-minute feature or a 6-episode series. It's not beholden to theatrical exhibition where they want to cram in as many screenings as possible over the course of a day so it can go long, but it's also a case where this particular thing would have clearly benefited from some judicious editing.
posted by tomorrowromance at 9:49 AM on February 27, 2023 [1 favorite]

First full-length screenwriting credit for Geoff Manaugh, creator of oft-MeFi-linked BLDGBLOG.
posted by srednivashtar at 11:20 AM on February 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

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