Most of the films released in 2021 had one thing in common: nostalgia. Maybe some heads at the big studio prophesied that the world would end and thus decided, (on behalf of the fans), that they needed to watch their favourite characters again. But when one invents something without necessity, we only get things we do not need. 2021 was filled with movies that could easily pass the criteria, and Ghostbusters: Afterlife is just a special addition to the list.
In 2016, Columbia Pictures tried to reboot the franchise with the remake of the 1984 original Ghostbusters film. However, when the film bombed at the box office, they may have thought to stick to the original timeline. Hence, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is the direct sequel to Ghostbusters II, released in 1989.
Directed by Jason Reitman (son of Ivan Reitman), Ghostbusters: Afterlife follows the incident 32 years after the 1989 film. The original Ghostbusters gang parted ways within the time elapsed, but there was one who didn’t abandon the ghost hunt. The film, titled “Afterlife,” focuses on Egon Spengler’s unfinished mission. His family travels to Summerville, Oklahoma, to sell off the property but encounters supernatural beings that add conflict to the plot. Let’s explore further.
In 2021, after years of research, Egon Spengler finally captures one of the minions of the Sumerian God of the dead spirits, Gozer. Gozer can only be awakened when the spirits of both his minions, Zuul, the gatekeeper, and Vinz Clortho, the key master, have taken the form of terror dogs by possessing a human body. Egon traps the spirit from a closed mine that belonged to Shandor Mining Company and brings it to his farmhouse in Summerville, Oklahoma. Egon has planted numerous ghost traps hidden underground and plans to lure the spirit to the trap field so that he can end the battle with Gozer once and for all. However, at the crucial moment, capacitors connected to the ghost trap get overloaded and give up. In a hurry, Egon hides the ghost trap in a puzzle door on the floor when suddenly Gozer’s second minion attacks him.
‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Synopsis
In New York City, Callie Spengler, Egon’s estranged daughter, gets the news of her father’s demise due to a heart attack and decides to travel to Summerville for a week with her son, Trevor, and daughter Phoebe. However, before they can leave the apartment, Callie’s landlord hands over the eviction notice, so Callie decides to sell off all her father’s property to make up for the outstanding rent.
On Egon’s farm, Callie and the kids witness a scary earthquake. Suddenly, a neighbor, Janine Melnitz, informs Callie that her father’s property has little resale value, but he has indeed left a little debt for her. Irritated by the accumulated debts, Callie decides to spend the summer in Summerville. While Trevor gets a summer job at Spinners Roller Hop, Phoebe enrolls in a summer school, where Callie meets the charming seismologist, Gary Grooberson (Paul Rudd).
At the house, Phoebe feels the presence of a ghostly spirit, and following the hints, she finds her grandfather’s P.K.E. Meter, a tool used to detect supernatural entities. The P.K.E. Meter leads Phoebe to the hidden puzzle door on the floor, where she finds a hidden ghost trap. She brings the ghost trap to her summer class, where Gary, a ghostbusters fan, gets attracted to the device and decides to open the ghost trap with the help of Phoebe and her new friend, Podcast.
As Grooberson powers up the ghost trap with the batteries from a school bus, Gozer’s minions are trapped inside escape, and his spirit flies away to the Shandor Mines, where all the secrets lie. The film further explores the struggle to trap the gatekeeper and the key master before they can transform into physical form and summon their master, Gozer.
Who was Gozer?
The early Sumerians believed in the existence of a realm in the depths of the earth that was filled with the souls of dark spirits. This death pit was ruled by a mighty god named Gozer, who walked among humans in 3000 BC. The genderless God could be a Sumerian representation of the Greek God of the underworld, popularly known as Hades.
While the modern world believes in the concept of heaven and hell, in the Ghostbusters universe, Gozer’s underworld was majorly filled with bestial supernatural entities. It could mean that this pit was the source of all the supernatural monsters, and Gozer was, in one way or another, connected to these ghosts and ghouls.
In the film, Phoebe explains that Ivo Shandor, the owner of the Shandor Mining Company and the man who laid the foundation of Summerville, used the same selenium girders (extracted from the Temple of Gozer) to construct his New York apartment building. It was the same rooftop where the horde of ghosts and Gozer made their first appearance in 1984. Selenium was an electron conductor, and it can be speculated that it was used for spiritual turbulence to bring monsters from other dimensions.
When Podcast first arrived at Egon’s farmhouse, he saw an occult book called Tobin’s Spirit Guide, written by J.H. Tobin. The book not only introduced Gozer but also informed about the existence of his two minions, Zuul, the gatekeeper, and Vinz Clortho, the key master. According to the book, the spirits of the gatekeeper and the key master must assume a physical form, i.e., possess a human body to summon their evil God, Gozer. Hence, when Grooberson, Phoebe, and Podcast released one of the spirits from the ghost trap, it attacked Grooberson and possessed his body, while the other minion, Zuul, the gatekeeper, possessed Callie. The gatekeeper and the key master reunited near the Shandor Mines and transformed into their terror dog beast form to summon Gozer.
What Caused The Frequent Earthquakes in Summerville?
During his summer class, Gary Grooberson explained to Phoebe that Summerville was neither near a tectonic plate nor had any underground volcanic activity. Hence, he wasn’t able to figure out the reason for the frequent earthquakes hitting the town.
However, later, when Phoebe, Podcast, Trevor, and Lucky visited the underground Shandor mines, they found Gozer’s Tomb, built like a temple by its most faithful devotee, Ivo Shandor. The kids also saw Ivo Shandor’s body preserved in a glass coffin. According to the dates mentioned on the coffin, Ivo died in 1945 and has been lying in the secret temple for almost 75 years.
The temple had “years” engraved on the walls that marked the destructible disasters that occurred in history, like the Krakatoa Eruption in 1883, the Tunguska Blast in 1908, the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic blasts in 1945, and the ghost attack in 1984. The temple’s final year was 2021, which most likely indicated impending chaos. Egon Spengler knew about this apocalypse and tried to warn the world, but no one listened to him.
The 2021 event was probably the awakening of Gozer in Summerville, who wanted to unleash all the demonic spirits on the human world and recreate it in his own image. To stop Gozer and other spirits from leaving the mine, Egon had crossed proton cannons near the pit’s opening. Whenever the spirits tried to escape the pit, the P.K.E. Meter detected their presence and activated the proton cannons attached to it. The spirits hit the proton stream, creating massive seismic vibrations that caused frequent earthquakes in the town.
‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Ending Explained
When the keymaster possessed Gary, it took him to the Shandor Mines and destroyed the proton cannons that stopped the evil spirits from rising above the pit. Once the defense mechanism was damaged, Zuul, the gatekeeper, possessed Callie. Gary and Callie summoned Gozer, but Phoebe diverted the evil God’s attention while Podcast used a ghost trap to capture Zuul.
The kids and Callie escaped to Egon’s farm, where Phoebe had planned to use the field trap and capture Gozer, along with other spirits that escaped the pit. However, when Callie tried to power up the field trap, the capacitors failed to handle the load again and gave up. At the exact moment, three former Ghostbusters, Winston Zeddemore, Raymond “Ray” Stantz, and Peter Venkman, made a memorable entrance at Egon’s farm to help the kids stop Gozer.
In her one-on-one battle with Gozer, Phoebe was aided by Egon’s ghost, who had been guiding Phoebe from the moment she entered the house. Egon was the ghost whose spirit Phoebe felt in the house, and he guided her to her secret cellar laboratory. Finally, Trevor used the proton cannon to power up the field traps that captured Gozer, along with his minions and other spirits that hovered over the farm.
However, the ghost traps didn’t capture Egon’s spirit, which clearly means that in this Ghostbusters’ Universe, human spirits or souls are immune to ghost traps, or they don’t consider human spirits evil at all. Whatever the case, maybe, after a final reunion with his former gang and family, especially with his estranged daughter Callie, Egon’s spirit finally found peace. The spirit disappeared and most probably went to heaven.
‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Post Credit Scene Explained
During the prison sequence, Ray told Phoebe that after the supernatural events declined in the city, the group decided to give up their ghostbusting job and move on. However, Egon was still obsessed with world-ending theories, and hence he stole Ecto-1 and other equipment and started living on a farm in Summerville.
In the ending sequence, when Winston Zeddemore sees the shabby condition of Ecto-1, he decides to take the vehicle back to New York.
The post-credit scene depicted Winston being interviewed by Janine Melnitz (Egon’s love interest, who worked as a receptionist for the ghostbusters). Winston explained to Janine that he might have earned a fortune by becoming a successful businessman, but at heart, he would always be a ghostbuster. Hence, for old time’s sake, Winston bought the old firehouse building, the former stronghold of the ghostbuster gang. He parked Ecto-1 at the garage, probably with the intention of re-building the Ghostbusters empire.
The closing shot depicted the warning light on the old containment unit, suggesting that there was still some ghost spirit inside the unit ready to break free. A potential escape will lead to a sequel, if not anything else.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a 2021 Action Thriller film directed by Jason Reitman.