‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Trailer Breakdown: Maybe It’s the Apocalypse

‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Trailer Breakdown: Maybe It’s the Apocalypse

This morning, a new trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife finally arrived, a year and a half after the first one. Thankfully, it was worth the wait, with a tease that packs the kind of punch the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens did, with a little bit of Super 8 thrown in there for good measure.

Since this trailer dives into the story, albeit vaguely, there are plenty of new details to uncover. So let’s dig in with a Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer breakdown.

Our story takes place in the small town of Summerville, Oklahoma. It’s right there on the water tower, and this is clearly the kind of place where nothing strange would ever happen, right?

Carrie Coon plays Callie, a single mother who is taking her children to a small farmhouse left behind by her father. They’re dirt poor for whatever reason, and it looks like whatever Callie inherited from her father is all they have left.

In voiceover, we heard Callie talking about her two kids. She says that everything is fine with Trevor (Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things), who can be seen here leaving a skate hop drive-in diner called Spinners. A previously released photo showed Trevor inside, handing a job application to another character named Lucky, played by Celeste O’Connor.

Callie says that she has trouble with Phoebe (Mckenna Grace), seen here with some round spectacles and working with a small soldering iron. If you’re getting Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) vibes, that’s the idea. In a trailer breakdown with Jason Reitman at IGN, the director says this is a movie about the Spengler family, and this movie will dive into why they’ve been estranged all these years.

The person Callie has been confiding in is Paul Rudd as school teacher Mr. Grooberson. Judging by the conversation, it sounds like they’ve known each other for awhile, perhaps as old school friends from their younger days.

Here’s the farmhouse that Egon Spengler has left behind for his family. It’s clearly seen better days, but the secrets within should certainly make up for that.

After discovering a sliding puzzle in the floorboards of the house, Phoebe uncovers a familiar artifact. That’s a Ghostbusters ghost trap, used to contain any of the spooks, specters, or ghosts that the team would grab with their neutrona wands and proton packs. That trap will get a little bit of an upgrade later in the trailer.

On the land outside of the farmhouse are a bunch of old rundown cars. Why did Egon need so many junk cars? Considering what we find in the garage, there’s a good chance that he needed some spare parts from time to time to fix a familiar ride.

The nostalgia really kicks in when we see this black and white photo of the original Ghostbusters crew. Egon stands with Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd), Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), and Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) in front of the old Ghostbusters firehouse in New York City. Will we find out what ultimately ended the Ghostbusters and why they’re no longer working together?

Speaking of the original Ghostbusters, that’s Annie Potts as Janine, the secretary employed by the paranormal exterminators in the original franchise. She’s still got some stylish specs, and it seems that she still handled Egon’s affairs in his later years since she’s the one letting Callie know about what she’s inherited. What has Janine been up to otherwise? Did she marry Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) after their romance blossomed in Ghostbusters II?

Trevor appears to be rather handy. After uncovering the Ecto-1 in the barn next to the farmhouse, he’s able to fix it up. Phoebe seems surprised that he chose to fix-up the Cadillac, but Trevor says it’s the only car that actually runs. It feels like a spin on the Force Awakens scene when Rey and Finn are forced to take the “garbage” ship after their first choice in an escape vehicle was destroyed, leaving them with the hunk of junk known as the Millennium Falcon.

Digging into the story a bit, we learn that Summerville has been experiencing earthquakes even though the town isn’t sitting on any fault lines. Mr. Grooberson is actually a seismologist investigating this phenomenon, but he takes on a teaching job so he can get by while doing his research. And these earthquakes aren’t the only strange thing happening in the neighborhood.

Trevor and his new friends are hanging out near an abandoned mine. Don’t forget: a small detail in the first trailer revealed that the company working in this mine was the Shandor Mining Co., which calls back directly to the original Ghostbusters. Ivo Shandor was the leader of the Cult of Gozer and the designer of 550 Central Park West, the apartment complex in which Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) was living and where the Manhattan Crossrip took place in 1984. In the first trailer, the glow in the mine and this streak shooting out of it was green, but it appears they decided to change that at some point in post-production.

In a very Egon Spengler way, Phoebe matter-of-factly proposes the idea that maybe it’s the apocalypse. Honestly, she’s probably not wrong, especially since she’s also thinking that Egon came out to Summerville for a reason, and it wasn’t just to get away from his family.

Another wave of nostalgia comes as Phoebe settles in front of her laptop to dig around for old Ghostbusters videos on YouTube. She’s watching one of the first commercials that the team did in New York.

Here’s an interesting shot that raises some questions. That’s clearly a PKE meter, but who is holding it? The first trailer had a shot of Phoebe holding it as she went to a shed on the farmhouse property. But that hand clearly belongs to an older man, and that looks like a dusty old labcoat he’s wearing. Could this be some kind of flashback to when Egon was still around? Jason Reitman could have easily gotten around the absence of Harold Ramis by shooting scenes with a stand-in without showing his face.

We get to see a bit more of the awakening of the Mini-Pufts in Walmart. A new shot shows that in addition to turning themselves into s’mores, these little hellraisers are also having some fun throwing around little cocktail umbrellas.

Here’s a big reveal in the trailer. It looks like Trevor, Phoebe, and their new friends head down into the abandoned mine, and they discover what looks like some kind of underground temple. Does that looming statue with the flattop haircut look familiar? What about the heads of those statues standing on either side of them? More on that later.

The statue also includes sculptures of people reaching for the figure that looms above them. Maybe this is depicting the Sumerians who wandered around Mesopotamia in 2800 BC and found a certain demigod to worship.

Above a small mountain (or maybe a big hill), ominous clouds have gathered and purple lighting strikes. That should look familiar to anyone who might remember a certain paranormal incident from New York back in 1984.

Inside the temple, Phoebe looks into a massive hole where an orange glow is growing. If you look just to the left of Phobe’s shoulder, you’ll see the shadow of a figure skulking around. And we’re pretty sure we know who that is.

Along with a flattop emerging from the hole, there’s an arm with sharp fingernails and electricity sparking. It’s no coincidence that the statue of Gozer the Gozerian lingers in the background as the Sumerian shape-shifting god of destruction rises once again. Since we know Gozer can be whatever it wants, according to Egon, we’re not sure why it chose to come back in the exact same form it did back in 1984.

Along with the return of Gozer, we see some familiar swirling streaks, just like the ones that flew around New York City during the Manhattan Crossrip of 1984. And they’re going to bring about some similarly scary situations in Summerville.

Just as a decayed cab driver appeared in New York during the crossrip event, here we see a deteriorated miner sitting in a Summerville diner as a waitress serves him coffee. If you look outside the window during that brief sequence, there’s a flaming ghost that flies by, chasing after a town resident.

Another ghost that appears is this horrifying creature above Mr. Grooberson. We saw parts of this shot in the first trailer, but without any of the visual effects elements added. If you look at the mouth of this smoky spirit, you’ll see that’s the face of a Terror Dog, one of the loyal companions of Gozer who act as the Keymaster and the Gatekeeper. Remember the two statues standing to the side of Gozer in the underground temple? They appear to be humanoid versions of the Terror Dogs, keeping the same snarling heads but giving them muscular human-like bodies. That’s an interesting twist on the creatures.

Speaking of Terror Dogs, it looks like at least one of them will return in dog form. This one busts out the front door of a Walmart as Mr. Grooberson runs away in terror. If the Mini-Pufts weren’t enough to totally creep him out, the Terror Dog certainly did the trick. Will we see Mr. Grooberson end up being possessed like Louis Tully in the original Ghostbusters? Could Callie end up being possessed too, just as Sigourney Weaver was as Dana Barrett?

We’ve seen the Ecto-1 speeding through downtown Summerville in the previous Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer, but here we get a little nod to the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with an old school advertisement painting on the side of a building.

The Ecto-1 has been given a little modification too. Phoebe suddenly emerges from the side of the vehicle in a gunner seat with a neutrona wand in hand, ready to put this equipment to use for the first time in a long time.

The ghost our new heroes are chasing is none other than Muncher, who was revealed to us awhile back. It looks like he’s about to have a bad day, getting caught in Phoebe’s proton stream as they race through town.

Helping to catch Muncher will be this modified ghost trap, which has been turned into the RTV (a Remote Trap Vehicle). We first got a glimpse of this little gadget in the form of a Hallmark ornament of the rusty Ecto-1, and it’s clear this will be a handy little device for capturing ghosts on the run.

Here’s where Mr. Grooberson informs the kids about the legacy of the Ghostbusters after Phoebe brings the ghost trap to class. This is exactly what a lot of parents will be doing to their kids before Ghostbusters: Afterlife arrives in November.

Finally, we get one last stinger where we see a red phone ringing. If you’re wondering what this shop is, just look at the neon sign in the window that says “Occult Books.” You might remember that Ray Stantz owned a book shop called Ray’s Occult back in New York. It would appear that maybe he’s still doing that to this very day, however, he may be a little grumpy in his old age, because he immediately answers the phone by saying, “We’re closed.” Now, who are they going to call?

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is set for release in theaters on November 11, 2021.

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