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Kennedy Unthank

Movie Review

You’d think that the city would’ve shown a little more gratitude.

Five years ago, the Ghostbusters saved New York City (and the world) from Gozer the Gozerian, a demonic entity that nearly got away with flattening humanity as a massive Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. But no, all the thanks they got was a lawsuit from the city for blowing up a building and for accidentally conjuring the demonic creature.

It didn’t take long for business to dry up after that. Most people still don’t even believe in ghosts! So Winston and Ray use what remaining fame they have as Ghostbusters to scrouge a few bucks by suffering insults at children’s birthday parties. As for Egon and Peter, well, they’ve gone off to do their own things. And it’s been that way for roughly five years now.

But despite never wielding a ghost-catching proton pack, it’s Dana (Peter’s love interest in the previous film) who’s still dealing with hauntings. In the five years since the first movie, Dana’s had a baby, Oscar, with her now ex-husband. And as she’s wheeling Oscar around in his baby carriage, it suddenly takes off with a mind of its own, zipping through traffic and forcing the frantic mother to dodge a car or two to get her boy back.

Well, that’s enough to pull all four Ghostbusters back together to investigate. And it’s not long until their investigation leads them to a giant river of gooey and ghostly slime flowing deep underground … slime that seems to feed on the average New Yorker’s angry attitudes and serves as a catalyst between the spirit and material worlds.

As it grows, this slime threatens to unleash a new wave of ghostly creatures upon the city—including an ancient ghost named Vigo, who has set his sights on using Oscar as a vessel to once again terrorize the world.

Positive Elements

A major theme of the film centers on countering negativity. Vigo’s power draws heavily on negative emotions, and he grows nearly unstoppable due to the aura of anger emanating from New York. It’s only when a burst of positivity spreads that Vigo grows weaker.

And while New York’s immediate problem is ghosts, the movie implies that the true underlying issue is growing hatred for one’s fellow man, as it’s very likely that none of the film would have happened had it not been for the city’s collective emotional problem with rage.

The Ghostbusters have received little more than mockery over the last three years for what they do, and they haven’t even turned on their ghost-capturing equipment in that span either. Still, they immediately step up and put their lives on the line to protect the city when a ghost outbreak occurs.

Spiritual Elements

The main ghostly antagonist here is Vigo, “the Scourge of Carpathia and Sorrow of Moldavia.” The “genocidal madman” once lived a long time ago and dabbled in occult dealings, which allowed him to live a long time before he was finally executed. However, Vigo uttered a prophecy before he died that he would return. His ghost is currently trapped in a painting, though he plans to inhabit the body of a baby so that he can live corporeally again and rule the world. He describes the modern era as “the season of evil.”

To accomplish this plan, he enlists the help of Janosz, a rude man with a big crush on Dana. Janosz aims to steal Dana’s baby for the ghost. His reward? Vigo promises that he’ll “get the girl” if he does so. He’s also given some supernatural abilities. His eyes turn into spotlights so he can see better, for example. Janosz bows down to the ghost painting and calls it “lord” when it speaks to him.

But Vigo isn’t the only author of supernatural shenanigans that the Ghostbusters have to fight. Their investigation into Dana’s baby carriage mishap leads them to find a river of pink slime flowing deep underground. And that foul stream acts as a portal for ghosts to enter into the world.

What’s more, the slime absorbs and responds to human emotion, and anything coated in it exhibits the emotions the slime has absorbed. So because New Yorkers are pretty rude and angry as a whole, the film suggests, this slime ain’t good news. That’s especially the case when some of it splashes on inanimate objects, causing them to begin attacking New Yorkers. The slime also contains the spirits of some ghosts, many of which harass the city.

These spirits come in a variety of shapes and sizes: A couple of them appear as two brothers in electric chairs, emulating how they died. Some resemble see-through versions of how they looked in life, while others appear as grotesque or of undefined shapes. We see a ghostly train that had derailed and killed its passengers, and we also see grisly decapitated heads with dripping ligaments haunt our protagonists. When the Ghostbusters analyze photographs for ghostly auras, the pictures burst into flames. Someone is possessed.

When the mayor hears of the city’s ghostly epidemic, he laments that he’ll be remembered as “the mayor who let New York get sucked down into the 10th level of hell!” The Ghostbusters perform tests to discern if rooms or locations have supernatural activity.

Peter hosts a television show where he brings alleged psychics on to ask them about their visions. One man claims that the world will end at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve (Eastern Time, allegedly), while a woman claims aliens told her that the world would actually end on Valentine’s Day in 2016.

Blurring the line between spiritual and sexual content …

Sexual Content

… Ray works at a store for the occult, and he sells something for use at a coven. When Peter visits, he jokingly asks Ray if he might have a love potion that he can use to obtain the total submission of a “Penthouse pet.”

When Dana prepares her baby for a bath, she takes off her shirt to prevent it getting wet, and we see her in a revealing bra. She’s later seen in a towel while she stays at Peter’s apartment (due to her home being haunted). Peter mentions bringing her some clothes, some of which he claims are “provocative choices.”

Dana and Peter share a kiss. Likewise, the Ghostbusters’ secretary, Janine, seduces Ghostbusters lawyer Louis by draping her leg over him and allowing him glimpses up her dress. Dana later walks in on the two as they passionately kiss and are about to get undressed.

When the Ghostbusters learn that the slime responds to positive and negative emotion, Peter finds Egon and Ray’s fascination with the stuff a bit intimate. “You’re not sleeping with it, are you?” he asks. Egon’s silent, awkward look sheepishly offers a confirmation that he may be doing that.

Peter often tosses out sexual quip, such as wondering if the Statue of Liberty is naked under her robes. He mocks the painting of Vigo when he takes photos of it, asking it to strike “hot and sexy” poses and betting that all the “girls, guys and animals” liked him. Later, the Ghostbusters quip that if Vigo wants a baby, he should “knock up a willing hellhound.”

We hear a crude reference to the male anatomy. While investigating Dana’s recent haunting, someone suggests running “gynecological tests” on her to determine if she might be the source. “Who wouldn’t,” Peter replies.

Violent Content

A tub attempts to eat Dana and her baby. Two ghosts try to blow up the judge who sentenced them to death. The same judge yells out that if the law had been more lenient, he’d have burned the Ghostbusters at the stake.

Background characters are seen in general peril. Ghosts cause windows and glass surfaces to shatter. Dana’s baby carriage (with Oscar it it) becomes briefly possessed, dodging and weaving through heavy traffic.

We’re told that Vigo originally died only after being “poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered.”

Crude or Profane Language

The s-word is used once. We also hear “a–,” “b–tard,” “crap” and “h—” used a few times. God’s name is abused six times, and Jesus’ name is used in vain twice.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Ray smokes a cigar and a pipe. Dana and Peter drink wine, and we see some beer bottles scattered around Peter’s apartment. A woman references seeing aliens after having a couple drinks at a bar. The mood slime causes people either to become enraged or to enter a euphoric state, depending on what feelings that slime was charged with.

Other Negative Elements

Peter’s a pretty rude person at the start of the film, and most of the people around him are more than aware of it. We hear a couple references to defecation or urination.

The mayor yells that “being miserable and treating other people like dirt is every New Yorkers’ God-given right!”


As a movie big-bad, Vigo feels like a bit of a step down in the stakes compared to the original Ghostbusters film. Sure, he sounds like he wouldn’t be that enjoyable to have around; but compared to the original’s demon lord Gozer the Gozerian? I’d rank Vigo a few pegs lower on the danger scale. After all, the guy spends the majority of his movie just trying to get out of a painting.

But where the stakes may seem lower in Ghostbusters II, the content has remained the same—if not risen in intensity. For instance, a cursory glance at the original film would quickly tell you that Peter’s way too focused on sex, and the sequel seems to have spread some that sentiment to a couple other characters, too.

And sure, they’re zipping around strangely empty New York City streets in order to save the day, but they’re still swearing and smoking and making crude quips in the midst of their supernatural safari.

No one is going to take the ghost whose weakness is a few stanzas of a happy song that seriously. After all, there’s a reason why this sequel put the series in the grave for some time. But though Ghostbusters II mostly succeeds at feeling like a comedy, many of its content issues—especially those involving spirituality and sexuality—remain unnecessary.

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Kennedy Unthank

Kennedy Unthank studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He knew he wanted to write for a living when he won a contest for “best fantasy story” while in the 4th grade. What he didn’t know at the time, however, was that he was the only person to submit a story. Regardless, the seed was planted. Kennedy collects and plays board games in his free time, and he loves to talk about biblical apologetics. He thinks the ending of Lost “wasn’t that bad.”