Rough Spirit: Our Review of ‘We Have a Ghost’

Posted in Netflix, What's Streaming? by - February 23, 2023
Rough Spirit: Our Review of ‘We Have a Ghost’

Most people don’t expect to learn that there’s a ghost in their new home. Sadly, that’s what protagonist Kevin Presley (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) learns from his neighbour J0y Yoshino (Isabella Russo) while they run into each other in the men’s washroom of their Chicago public school. They call the ghost ‘Ernest’ (David Harbour).

‘Ernest’ is still a ghost because of trauma that Kevin and Joy try to uncover. Meanwhile, he stops being Kevin and Joy’s little secret. Eventually, the Presleys find out about him. And the family patriarch, Frank (Anthony Mackie), decides to recruit a TV medium (Jennifer Coolidge) to monetize him.

That’s two of the plot points in Christopher Landon’s We Have a Ghost, an adaptation of Ernest, a short story that came out in Vice six years ago. This retelling strays in many ways from the original. One of those diversions include adding a subplot about a CIA Agent (Tig Notaro) trying to catch Ernest.

Harbour, as ‘Ernest,’ is clearly having fun in We Have a Ghost. A Ghost designs the character as the CGI entity, running through walls alongside actors who have to deal with physical constraints. The movie uses Chicago as its setting, finding the balance in depicting the city as both gentrified and rough.

Harbour does his best to bring complexity to a role that’s all physical and no verbal dialogue. It’s unfortunate, then, that the movie strips a lot of the original story story’s sensitivity and commentary with high speed chases. I like fun, but not when it seems superficial.

Viewers may also find the CGI design to be subpar. I understand some of the decisions behind some of the colours though, since it needs some of the tech-y stuff in cool colours. That leaves ‘Ernest’ on the other side of the palette that makes him look slightly dour and sweaty.

It’s also sad to see a movie try to juggle three plotlines at once. Viewers may still love Coolidge and Notaro, who bring the comedy in this ghost comedy, but they belong in two of the plots that don’t feel important. And by the time the third one comes in, A Ghost lacks the energy that it already misused.

This is where I grapple with whether or not this movie is worth watching. It’s nice to see Harbour and Di’Allo Winston bring the humanity within their characters and this story. I just hope that they get a chance to work in something that doesn’t feel too mainstream.

Watch We Have a Ghost on Netflix.

  • Release Date: 2/24/2023
This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
Comments are closed.
(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-61364310-1', 'auto'); ga('send', 'pageview');