Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes of family, friendship, forgiveness, and redemption, as well as courage, curiosity, perseverance, self-control, and teamwork.
Positive Role Models
Phoebe is a wonderful role model: a self-confident young scientist with ability to regulate her emotions and stay calm in dangerous or potentially upsetting situations. The other three kids use knowledge and skills to battle supernatural creatures and show an immense amount of bravery -- but it does involve driving without a license, disobeying parents/authority figures, and racking up quite a bit of property damage.
Most primary characters are White, though the cast includes Black characters who are authority and/or aspirational figures. Both teen and tween boys and girls defy stereotypes: Girls are brave, calm, confident, intelligent. Boys show emotion, creativity, vulnerability.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Some ghosts are silly but have menacing abilities. Other supernatural creatures and moments are more frightening, on par with special effects from the original 1984 Ghostbusters; comedic moments help break up the intensity. References to ritualized violence (virgin sacrifices).
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Glimpse of teen girl in bra while she's changing clothes. A couple of shielded sexual references ("third base," "getting to know each other more formally"). Kissing. Two characters later say "did we?" and "I think we did," implying that the kissing led to something more. Attraction and dating between two sets of characters. Mentions of being a virgin, in context of virgin sacrifices, without explanation of exactly what the word means.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Language includes "a--hole," "hell," "we're screwed," "damn," and "s--t." "Oh my God" used as an exclamation. The word "bone" used to allude to sex.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Original Ghostbusters had notable product placement of certain snack foods, and that's winked at here. One scene takes place in a Walmart (lots of products around), and Baskin-Robbins is prominently placed. Characters use YouTube.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character is shown asleep at a dining room table, with an unmarked bottle and what looks like a wine glass nearby. Adult character makes a couple of jokes about drinking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ghostbusters: Afterlife reboots the beloved Ghostbusters franchise as a frighteningly good comedy adventure about kids ridding a town of ghosts. This installment takes place decades after the events of the original and was written to appeal to kids (including a self-possessed tween girl scientist leading the charge), who don't need to have seen the original to enjoy this one. But longtime fans will be rewarded with a basketful of Easter eggs and cameos from all of the original living Ghostbusters: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, and Annie Potts (Egon/Harold Ramis died in 2014). Count on seeing ghosts both funny and fearsome; keep in mind that special effects have improved since 1984, and what didn't scare you as a kid might be more frightening through the lens of modern technology. There are references to virginity (without an explanation of what that term means) and a couple of other sexual insinuations that will likely go over most kids' heads. You can also expect a few swear words ("a--hole," "s--t"). Still, this is definitely a more family-friendly film than the original, with themes of friendship, forgiveness, and redemption. Watch through the end of the credits for an extra treat. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Ghostbusters franchise crosses streams to find new life as a family film that's frighteningly good fun. For anyone who remembers how the original '80s horror comedy shook pop culture like a ginormous Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man stomping through New York, it may have seemed like too much to hope for that a new version could match that magic (especially after the underwhelming 2016 reboot). And yet, Ghostbusters: Afterlife pulls it off. Writer-director Jason Reitman -- son of Ivan Reitman, who directed the 1984 classic -- grew up with this franchise. With Ivan now in the producing role and (according to Jason) sitting right next to his son on set, the duo prove to be the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper, truly re-creating the special feeling of an '80s comedy while adding a modern-day spin that fits with today's sensibilities.
While pulling back from the original's eyebrow-raising banter and behavior, this kidventure still respects its elders. The 1984 film was about four scientific misfits who don't quite fit into society but believe in themselves when no one else does and, through their courage and ingenuity, save the world. Here, the same premise is reignited: Four diverse kids come together to follow a similar path. The lead character in the ensemble is Phoebe, whose logical brain is a social hindrance (as she starts her first day of summer school, her mother jokingly calls out "Don't be yourself!"). But she's undeterred in her approach to life: She's comfortable in her own skin, and she ain't afraid of no ghosts ("overstimulation calms me" she coolly states while blasting a particularly hungry apparition named Muncher). The score, the lighting, the camera angles, the humor, the throwback references, the cameos, the script -- everything comes together perfectly to create the tingly feeling that we're watching Ghostbusters meets The Goonies, with a touch of Gremlins (without the parts that often worry parents). When it comes to the impossible challenge of rebooting a beloved, iconic comedy, the Reitmans can say "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Scary (But Not TOO Scary!) Halloween Movies
Best Classic Comedy Films
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate