We Have a Ghost (2023)

by | Mar 14, 2024 | 2020s, Family, Fantasy, Film Reviews | 0 comments

A Disappointing Blend of Horror, Comedy, and Family Drama


Initial release date: 24 February 2023
Genre: Family/Fantasy
Director: Christopher Landon
Cinematographer: Marc Spicer
Budget: $51 million USD
Box office: TBA



“We Have a Ghost” is a Netflix original film that attempts to combine elements of horror, comedy, and family drama, yet it ultimately falls short in delivering a satisfying cinematic experience. Based on a short story by Geoff Manaugh, the film fails to capture the depth and originality of its source material. In this review, we will explore the film’s various aspects, from its inconsistent tone and lacklustre humour to its underwhelming horror and melodramatic family dynamics. Despite a talented cast and a potentially intriguing premise, “We Have a Ghost” struggles to find its footing and leaves viewers wanting more.


An Inconsistent and Unfocused Tone

One of the most significant issues plaguing “We Have a Ghost” is its inconsistent and unfocused tone. The film attempts to juggle humour, scares, and emotional moments, but it never manages to strike a balance or excel in any of these areas. The humour, for instance, is mostly juvenile and forced, relying on tired gags and clichés that fail to elicit genuine laughter. In its quest to be funny, the film often resorts to cheap one-liners and physical comedy that miss the mark. As a result, the attempts at humour feel forced and out of place within the context of the story.


Minimal and Unoriginal Horror

While the film markets itself as a blend of horror and comedy, it disappoints in the horror department. The scares in “We Have a Ghost” are minimal and unoriginal, relying heavily on jump scares and CGI effects that lack genuine suspense or terror. The supernatural elements fail to create a sense of dread, and the film’s reliance on familiar horror tropes detracts from any potential suspense. Horror enthusiasts seeking a genuinely frightening experience will likely be left unsatisfied by the film’s lackluster approach to the genre.


Shallow Family Drama

The family drama aspect of “We Have a Ghost” also falls short of expectations. The film attempts to delve into the dynamics of the Presley family, who discover the friendly ghost Ernest in their new home. However, the drama feels superficial and melodramatic, failing to establish a strong emotional connection between the audience and the characters. Viewers may struggle to care about the Presley family’s relationships and personal struggles, as the film fails to invest adequate time in developing these aspects of the story.


Lack of Direction and Coherence

Another critical flaw of the film is its lack of direction and coherence in storytelling. “We Have a Ghost” often jumps from one subplot to another without establishing clear connections or purpose. The narrative feels disjointed, leaving viewers disoriented and unable to fully engage with the unfolding events. This lack of narrative focus undermines the film’s potential to build a compelling and immersive story, resulting in a disjointed viewing experience.


David Harbour’s Standout Performance

Despite its many shortcomings, “We Have a Ghost” does have one redeeming quality: the performance of David Harbour as the titular ghost, Ernest. Harbour manages to convey a wealth of emotion and personality through physicality and facial expressions, even without uttering a word. His portrayal of Ernest creates a sympathetic and likeable character, making him the sole figure that viewers can genuinely root for throughout the film. Additionally, Harbour’s chemistry with Jahi Winston, who plays Kevin, the youngest son of the Presley family and Ernest’s closest friend, adds a touch of authenticity to the otherwise underdeveloped relationships in the story.


A Missed Opportunity

“We Have a Ghost” is a missed opportunity to capitalise on its intriguing premise and talented cast. The film’s potential to blend horror, comedy, and family drama in a unique and engaging way remains unrealized. Instead, it delivers a bland and forgettable experience that fails to entertain or impress. The filmmakers’ inability to find the right balance between the film’s various elements and their reliance on tired tropes and clichés ultimately led to a disappointing result.



“We Have a Ghost” falls short of expectations on multiple fronts. Its inconsistent tone, lacklustre humour, minimal horror, and melodramatic family dynamics make for an unsatisfying viewing experience. While David Harbour’s standout performance as Ernest adds a glimmer of hope, it’s not enough to salvage the film from its many flaws. “We Have a Ghost” is a missed opportunity to create a memorable and entertaining horror-comedy, and it should have remained hidden in the attic of Netflix’s vast catalogue.

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