Horror and comedy are two admittedly challenging genres to mix. The tonal balance must be near-perfect so that the film doesn’t become too cringe-worthy, where neither jokes nor scares work. Christopher Landon is one of the few filmmakers who managed to find their success formula within this subgenre, especially in recent years. From Freaky to Happy Death Day, without forgetting his impact on the Paranormal Activity saga, the writer-director has earned immense praise. Unfortunately, We Have a Ghost breaks that positive sequence.
This Netflix movie is the typical case of many ideas being lost in execution. The appeal of We Have a Ghost was in the lightness of the premise and in the charming cast, especially in the choice of David Harbour to play a ghost who doesn’t speak. This last detail sounds interesting on paper, but it takes a disappointing path as the story unfolds. Landon tries to demonstrate his versatility by playing with all existing genres. He ends up losing whatever his original vision was and ultimately delivers a confusing film.
From an action sequence involving an absurd car chase to the extremely forced storyline surrounding social media, We Have a Ghost just doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a message movie about today’s news culture and online community? A narrative about the complicated relationship between an estranged father and son? Is it a sci-fi cop flick? An inconsequential comedy where nothing matters? Or is it a horror movie full of cheap jump scares?
We Have a Ghost becomes more disconnected with each new development, especially those that come out of nowhere. Apart from the decent performances from a cast that tries its best with what they had at their disposal, it’s genuinely tricky to find positives. Jahi Winston turns out to be the standout, but wasting David Harbour as a non-speaking ghost is a questionable decision. Bear McCreary’s beautiful score also deserves better. Even looking at more superficial aspects, the film doesn’t invite a single chuckle, let alone a loud laugh. We Have a Ghost holds a fun concept, but it doesn’t justify its two-hour running time.
Landon’s heart is in the right place, but he loses focus while trying to convey dozens of messages in different genres. The screenplay simply grows in its unnecessary, illogical complexity and ends up becoming a convoluted mess without any idea of what it wants to be. Frankly, Netflix has better time-wasters.