‘We Have a Ghost’ embraces cliches in a comedic ghost story

By Katlynn Rossignol

The Presley family moves into a new house and finds Ernest, the awkward ghost of a middle-aged man, haunting their attic. Jahi Di’Allo Winston plays Kevin Presley, who becomes Ernest’s friend and wants to help him move on to the afterlife, while his dad Frank, played by Anthony Mackie, sees Ernest as the family’s ticket to fame and fortune. After Frank posts videos of Ernest, eccentrically acted by David Harbour, to YouTube, he quickly becomes an internet phenomenon and the house is bombarded with fans. Kevin and his new hacker-friend Joy, played by Isabella Russo, must solve the mystery of Ernest’s past as fans demand selfies and a government agency hunts them down. 

A mixture of horror tropes, comedy, and mystery, “We Have a Ghost’” is a fast-paced movie with a fun story. In a world full of reboots and sequels, this movie is refreshingly original, even while filled with cliches. The action sequences are entertaining and maintain a funny tone while making the most of Ernest’s ghost abilities. 

The characters are mostly one-note, but the Presley family was shown to have an underlying depth that makes their dynamics believable. There are plenty of heartfelt moments between the characters which make the movie’s journey worthwhile. 

Erica Ash as Melanie Presley finding the Ernest Videos

The writers of “We Have a Ghost” are aware of how cliche the story could be, and embrace it. This movie knows when to take itself seriously, and when to acknowledge how silly it is. The tone fluctuates throughout the story but generally has a comedic spirit. 

“We Have a Ghost” does a good job with its social media satire by keeping it to a minimum and fairly up-to-date. The modern jokes could end up working against the film in the future though. There are moments of mystery and horror that don’t overstay their welcome and also moments of sincerity. 

It has fast pacing, which can be attributed to it fitting in multiple different genres. The movie takes time to lean into each genre, such as scenes featuring the ghost scaring people, comedic moments, solving the mystery and even some action scenes in between. There’s an underlying theme of family and fatherly bonds that shines through the Presley family’s conflicts. No matter what happens, whether it be ghosts, government agencies or paparazzi, they’re still a family and stick together. 

Frank Presley convincing his son Kevin to find Ernest

I think this movie does a good job of managing its multiple genres, but it does rely heavily on tropes. It is a straightforward plot with a few plot contrivances near the end to make everything come together. The government agency plot especially is cliche but manages to be fun nonetheless. It reminds me of movies like ‘Ghostbusters’ and other 80s films.

 “We Have a Ghost” is a surprisingly fun and comedic movie. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it does a great job with a simple premise. I would recommend this movie to fans of comedy, spoof movies and mysteries.

“We Have a Ghost” is currently streaming on Netflix 

Katlynn Rossignol is a freshman Communications Major and A&E writer for Cedars. She loves 2D animation, superhero movies and the color pink.

Images courtesy of Netflix

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