[Blu-Ray Review] GHOSTBUSTERS: Frozen Empire

This film has been problematic for me – I so much want to sing its praises as GHOSTBUSTERS has been such a driving force in my fandom. I was in my early 20s when the original came out in 1984 and seen it at least a dozen times during its original theatrical run. When it hit VHS – it was an event – I know it sounds hard to believe but people camped outside of stores to be able to own it on release day.

Because I witnessed those events firsthand – decades ago, I struggle with the fact that this is where the franchise has evolved. Making it even more annoying – I can’t pinpoint any one thing in FROZEN EMPIRE that makes it so difficult to watch – it’s a bunch of small yet important components that build too well – nothing.

As with a few other major genre franchises of late – that find their marquee stars aging and perhaps not as of much interest to the fandom that created them, other than the nostalgic pang they get from seeing them briefly – they struggle to keep the franchise alive and fresh.

Honestly with the prior chapter GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE – this franchise did a pretty good job of tying up some loose ends and introducing us to some new inroads into a fresh storyline. With FROZEN EMPIRE what we get is a step back. A muddled mess of a story that lumps our new Ghostbusters – who now run the fire station as it was donated to them by original Ghostbuster Winston who is now a multi-millionaire Bill Gates kind of man who also bankrolls a top-secret ghost research faculty.

A series of seemingly unconnected events lead to an artifact that is brought into Rays’ occult store being turned into the ghost research facility to have the ghost extracted. We see the back story of this spherical artifact during the opening of the film. Of course, said extraction does not go well – freeing not only its contents, the films Big Bad as well as the contents of the holding faculty at the fire station. Add in a ghost girl with ulterior motives, but a ghost-conscious, some teen angst, a reluctant fire master, and some shoehorned-in classic characters and you get well – a mess.

Don’t get me wrong – I think there is a universe where a Ghostbusters tale could be told with these new characters – I actually like most of them – the addition of Paul Rudd is strong and the Spangler family dynamic works for me. Honestly, it’s time for the original team to graciously back out and fade into a marshmallow-stained cityscape – there is nothing new to see or care about with these characters and they are at this point – un needed weight in a story that was already far too convoluted. Time to hang up the protone packs old friends.

Also – I didn’t care for the at times cartoonish special effects – very little practical work in this one and large portions of the film looked like they were produced for a video game – it annoyed me.

Performance-wise – not a lot to complain about here. Our oldtimers give it their all and the current round of talent all hold true to the characters they created in the last chapter – there just is something missing, there is no heart, no reason to care and that’s a shame because as I mentioned above – I think there is a world where this franchise could continue to flourish with this new generation but it can’t be with these half-assed, one-off storylines. The franchise deserves better – the fans deserve better. The actual Blu-ray itself is a great package – a Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital combo pack that is loaded with all the special features we have come to expect from such a release. Sony does a good job of making this a physical release that any fan of the franchise will want to include in their collection – even if you find the film less than chilling.

While the film itself is only coming in at two stars for me – the blu-ray production and packaging as well as the included special features certainly add more bang for the buck so – overall, this one gets three stars.

Here’s hoping that should there be further chapters in the GHOSTBUSTERS storyline, they rely more on further investigation of what can be as opposed to not letting go of what was – and we can continue asking what for me has been a lifelong question – Who Ya Gonna Call?

Dave Dreher
Co-Founder / Lead News Reporter at Gruesome Magazine
Dave is co-founder and lead news reporter for Gruesome. Dave has built his resume working for Diabolique Magazine, The Horror Channel, Horrornews.net, House of Horrors and Creature Corner. He has worked with Tom Savini on his official site since 1997 and is also co-host of the popular podcast Horror News Radio.