We Have a Ghost (2023)

We Have a Ghost
Director: Christopher Landon
Writer: Christopher Landon
Based on: Geoff Manaugh’s short story Ernest
Cast: Jahi Di’Allo Winston, David Harbour, Anthony Mackie, Erica Ash, Niles Fitch, Isabella Russo, Tig Notaro, Steve Coulter, Jennifer Coolidge
Seen on: 19.3.2023

When the Presley family – father Frank (Anthony Mackie), mother Melanie (Erica Ash) and their two sons Kevin (Jahi Di’Allo Winston) and Fulton (Niles Fitch) move into a new house, they soon find that the house actually has an inhabitant already: Ernest (David Harbour) is a ghost haunting their attic. Videos of Ernest soon go viral and he becomes quite the sensation that puts all of them into the crosshairs of the FBI. While Frank and Fulton want to exploit their new fame, Kevin would just like to find out what happened to Ernest so he might finally find peace.

We Have a Ghost is sweet, funny and very entertaining, albeit a bit predictable. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t fall in love with it completely.

The film poster showing a fist-bump between a smaller hand of a Black person and the larger hand of a white person. The latter hand is glowing. This fistbump is set above a house in front of a full moon.

I love Landon’s horror comedies (Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U, Freaky) that are unironically funny. With We Have a Ghost, he turns away from horror and makes more of a family film with slight horror elements. While not every family film necessarily has to feel tame, We Have a Ghost lacks a certain edge that would have really made it good.

As is, it is certainly fun. The cast is great, with Winston giving us a very relatable teenager, Harbour a funny almost entirely wordless role, and Isabella Russo stealing every scene she’s in with her irreverent Joy. The three of them make the film, though cameos by Tig Notaro and Jennifer Coolidge serve the film well, too.

Kevin (Jahi Di'Allo Winston) talking to his father Frank (Anthony Mackie). Ghost Ernest (David Harbour) is standing behind Frank, making fun of him.

But the film is a little predictable and shies away from an ambiguous ending that would have been quite interesting to give us the sickly sweet version of things. It stumbles a little along the way, too, but the ending is really what falls flat and pulls the film down as well. Not so much that it isn’t entertaining anymore, but there would have been more potential here. As there would have been more potential in the family dynamic – the conflict between Kevin and his dad never really gains any depth, and Melanie is mostly ignored in general. A bit more honing could have made things a little sharper.

That being said, if you want to have a good laugh, maybe with a younger family member, you could do much worse than watch this. Overall, you probably won’t regret watching it.

Kevin (Jahi Di'Allo Winston), Joy (Isabella Russo) and Ernest (David Harbor) outside, hiding.

Summarizing: fun.

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