WE HAVE A GHOST on Netflix is a new family horror comedy with a runtime of just over two hours, which is too long. It does definitely have good moments – as shown in the trailer – but overall, I was disappointed with it. Read our full We Have a Ghost movie review here!
WE HAVE A GHOST is a new Netflix movie that covers the comedy and horror genres, though in a very family-oriented way—often trying to be mild-mannered enough to appeal to very young viewers. However, then there’s a scene with a melting face (sort of) which seems to be for older viewers.
I was really looking forward to watching this on Netflix after the trailer came out. However, as soon as I saw it had a runtime of just over two hours (2 hours and 6 minutes, officially), I started to get a bad feeling. While the trailer is fast-paced and funny, the movie itself has a relatively slow approach. To everything really!
Continue reading our We Have a Ghost movie review below. Find it on Netflix from February 24, 2023.
Holy comb-over, Hellboy!
As everyone who has seen the trailer for (or any images from) the movie will know, David Harbour (who played the title character in the newest Hellboy movie) plays a ghost with a comb-over. This in itself works perfectly for a character in a horror-comedy. He doesn’t really speak a single word, so you’ll simply hear him grunt and moan. But this works fine.
We meet David Harbour as the ghost “Ernest” when the Presley family moves into a dusty fixer-upper. It’s way too cheap for the area and they soon realize why; The ghost in the attic named Ernest (David Harbour).
Trying to scare the youngest member of the family, teenage son Kevin (Jahi Winston), doesn’t work as intended. Kevin just laughs and tries to talk to Ernest instead. Kevin’s father Frank (Anthony Mackie) is always looking for his big break and is quick to cash in on Ernest.
He uploads a video of Ernest to YouTube and the internet does what it does. Ernest becomes a social media sensation. In a montage of Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok videoes, we see both Ernest and the mother of the Presley family become memes. It’s all a bit too easy, but also seems scarily realistic.
Enter the CIA
Dr. Leslie Monroe (Tig Notaro) is a washed-up paranormal scientist who also comes across this video. In a weird scene, someone tells her about this video just before we hear the Presley family talking about the relatively few views the video has on YouTube.
Dr. Monroe reaches out to her old boss, the Deputy Director of the CIA (Steve Coulter) and they re-open a clandestine program that was focused on trying to capture a ghost. Why? Well, it would appear it’s primarily due to ghosts being dead and therefore having no rights, so you can use them for whatever you want.
Kevin and his fellow outcast neighbor Joy (Isabella Russo) do their best to help Ernest. Mostly by figuring out who he was in life and how he died. He has no memories of anything really, and the name Ernest is simply due to a bowling shirt he’s wearing with the name on it.
More Casper than Ghostbusters
I have a real soft spot for family horror comedies as it’s the perfect gateway into genre movies for many. However, based on the We Have a Ghost trailer, I expected more Ghostbusters than Casper (as in the friendly ghost). Unfortunately, that’s not the case. And with a runtime of a solid two hours, it is definitely too long.
In fact, despite my affection for Tig Notaro (Army of the Dead) in general, most of the storyline featuring her character should’ve been cut. Some of her scenes could’ve easily remained, but there’s a whole CIA side story that is ultimately completely redundant.
In official press material, this Netflix family feature is described as “an action-packed supernatural adventure exploring nostalgia, unlikely friendships, and the unbreakable bonds of family“. Well, when it comes to friendship and family, it does work. Action-packed is (for the most part) over-selling the movie.
Also, while I’m all for friendship being a key part of any story, I really wish they had dropped the romantic angle. The two teens have great chemistry and energy as friends. As anything romantic, I find the whole ghost story to be much more realistic and believable.
Watch We Have a Ghost on Netflix now!
The new Netflix family horror-comedy was written and directed by Christopher Landon. It’s based on a short story by Geoff Manaugh that was published on Vice.com. After a bidding war, Legendary secured the rights and Christopher Landon was attached.
Based on his Happy Death Day (2017) movie, it seemed like an obvious choice. A match made in horror-comedy heaven, if you will.
Unfortunately, We Have a Ghost is very far away from both the horror, comedy and biting sarcasm of Happy Death Day. In fact, even the characters seem a lot more shallow. Maybe because there are too many characters and too many irrelevant side stories that could have easily been left on the cutting room floor.
Look, it’s obvious to me that I had expectations for something very different than this film delivers. As such, I was disappointed in the movie. To be fair, I do think the trailer for We Have a Ghost presents a movie that is much more like the one I expected.
The trailer lets down the movie because it shows a very different movie. One that’s both funnier and more fast-paced.
We Have a Ghost premieres on Netflix on February 24, 2023.
Director: Christopher Landon
Writers: Christopher Landon (Script), Geoff Manaugh (Story)
Cast: David Harbour, Jahi Di’Allo Winston, Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Coolidge, Tig Notaro, Tom Bower, Faith Ford, Steve Coulter, Erica Ash, Niles Fitch, Sherri Eakin, April McCullough, Scott A. Martin, Ned Yousef, Natalie Okamoto, Jo-Ann Robinson, LaTaryion Perry
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.