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Film / Ghostbusters (2016)

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"In my closet, down the hall
I see shadows all on my wall
Man, these monsters be big and tall
Ghostbusters, who you gon' call?"

Ghostbusters (sometimes referred to as Ghostbusters: Answer the Call in publicity materials, as well as the DVD release) is a 2016 reboot of the 1984 comedy of the same name. Directed by Paul Feig, the movie stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as the Gender Flipped new team, with Chris Hemsworth as their dimwitted receptionist Kevin.

The plot involves quantum physicist Erin Gilbert (Wiig) discovering that her estranged friend and former partner Abby Yates (McCarthy) has republished a book the two wrote expressing their belief in ghosts. Fearing that the book will destroy her chances of achieving tenure at Columbia University, Gilbert attempts to persuade Yates to take the book down from the Internet, only to become roped into an investigation into a supposedly haunted mansion conducted by Yates and her partner, eccentric engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon). When the investigation uncovers an actual, genuine haunting, the three — after being fired from their respective academic institutions — decide to investigate the increase in paranormal activity and conclusively prove the existence of ghosts. After MTA worker Patty Tolan (Jones) approaches them following a haunting at a subway station, the four women discover a terrible plot threatening all of New York, and join forces as the Ghostbusters to save the day...

The film is not a continuation of the previous films, but a Continuity Reboot. There are a number of cameos from the cast of the original film but the cameos themselves are not role reprises, but new characters altogether.

The characters appear in the 2017 IDW Publishing Crisis Crossover mini-series Ghostbusters 101, in which the main casts of both the original two films and the 2016 film meet and team up against a new threat. Furthermore, another limited IDW title featuring this film's characters —Ghostbusters: Answer the Call— was also published later in the year.

2021's Ghostbusters: Afterlife is an Un-Reboot that ignores this film and reprises the original continuity, being set a few decades after Ghostbusters II.

Character tropes go on to the Characters Sheet.

Ghostbusters: Answer the Tropes.

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Holtzmann for Erin. Maybe. Not that she's unattractive but her over the top antics and behavior make Erin feel uncomfortable if not flattered.
  • Accidental Murder: The Ghostbusters accidentally cause the death of Heiss by releasing a dangerous ghost on him, although one can argue about how much he deserved it, how much he provoked them into freeing the ghost, or even if he's really dead. Also, the foreword of the tie-in Defictionalization of Yate's and Gilbert's book is written from his perspective and mentions a broken neck from falling out of a second-story window, and that he's writing it as a ghost.
  • The Ace: Jillian Holtzmann's equipment not only works flawlessly (despite being prototypes), she also is completely fearless. She's arguably the best Ghostbuster yet, based on these merits.
  • Acrofatic: Melissa McCarthy, who is heavyset, is able to do a no-handed cartwheel while wearing a proton pack. Given that Abby mentions in-character that the pack "feels like it's compressing my spine" and the actress states in a behind-the-scenes interview that the prop is heavier than one of her co-stars, this is quite an impressive feat.
  • Action Girl: The new Ghostbusters are all women who are capable of fighting ghosts.
  • Actionized Reboot: The special effects advancements of the 2010s have allowed the movie to feature actual fight scenes between the Ghostbusters and the ghosts, with punching and weapons. There is certainly more action compared to the climax of the original movie, in which most of the action from the Ghostbusters amounted to moving the tips of their proton blasters close together.
  • Affably Evil: Rowan the janitor. He is unfailingly polite even while murmuring dire imprecations to Patty. He speaks formally, addressing her as "Patricia". He also continues to be polite even as his plan unfolds and comes to fruition. However he doesn't hesitate to make it clear how low his opinion of most people is, and clearly has some kind of superiority complex.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Holtzmann, who likes Erin, who is attracted to Kevin, who has no clue.
  • All Part of the Show: Mayhem, the demonic ghost, showing up in a metal concert. The lighting guy even has to say to the band it's not one of his effects.
  • All There in the Manual: The tie-in edition of Ghosts of Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal reveals that apparently Martin Heiss survived being thrown through a window by Mayhem, was very badly injured, and renounced skepticism to become a firm believer in ghosts and the Ghostbusters. Until the next chapter, in which Erin and Abby reveal that he's actually a ghost who somehow managed to write the foreword for them.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Ghostbusters in this film are an all-female team that bands together to fight the paranormal in the finale.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Invoked on a meta-level. Holtzmann is constantly flirtatious with a mildly awkward but still flattered Erin. It's only "ambiguous" in name. Feig strongly implies he didn't come right out and make it plain only because the studio would have objected. Her actress Kate McKinnon is a lesbian too.
    • There are hints with Abby, as well. Not only is she not attracted to Kevin, but she seems surprised that anyone could be. And she repeatedly describes the female ghost at the Aldridge Mansion as the most beautiful thing she's ever seen, even though she never displays such...adoration for any of the other ghosts.
  • And This Is for...: When Patty busts Mayhem using the "ghost shredder," she says it's because he sat on her.
  • Apocalypse How: Rowan tries to unleash one in the climax which he calls "The Fourth Cataclysm". It could have been any class.
  • Appropriated Appellation:
    • The team starts out with a long-winded, scientifically accurate, official sounding name but, after the media starts calling them "Ghostbusters" and they can't shake the name, they just go along with it.
    • The logo is taken from a tag sprayed by a graffiti artist when he's interviewed as a possible witness to the subway ghost. He draws the "no" symbol when Patty tells him to stop painting the ghost. Everyone else rushes away, but Holtzmann takes a photograph and later paints the image on the side of the Ecto-1.
    • Erin was derisively known as "ghost girl" in school due to her haunting experience. At the end, Abby calls her this and she says that she will gladly accept it as a title.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Erin wears one as part of her professor outfit in the early part of the movie, which is dubbed the 'world's tiniest bow tie' by Holtzmann. It's supposed to make her look professional and serious and stuff.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Erin and Abby had long since dismissed the idea of ley lines, which means it takes them a while to figure out Rowan's plan, which revolved around their old theories about the stronger connections to the other side along them.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Among the many serious regulations and laws the Homeland Security agents claim the Ghostbusters are apparently breaking is driving a vehicle with a "distinctly un-American-sounding siren".
  • Art Shift: As Rowan takes on his final form, he goes from a 2D animated version of the classic "No Ghost" to a twisted version done in CG like the other ghosts.
  • Ascended Extra: Slimer re-appears.
  • As Himself: Ozzy Osbourne and Al Roker.
  • Asshole Victim: Martin Heiss' death is never brought up ever again. Though considering what a jerkass he was, nobody probably cared.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Instead of Mr. Stay Puft, the 'Busters have to deal with a giant version of the ghost from their logo. And prior to that, they do face a lot of Macy's Parade balloons, culminating in one of the Marshmallow Man.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Paul Feig's reasoning for having an all-female team is because he claims that it's his thing. Not too hard to see why, considering that his other movies all center around female characters.
    • In-Universe example: The reason why Kevin used a floating hot dog for one of his logos is because he likes hot dogs.
  • Bathos: Many scenes in the movie that end with either over-the-top absurdity or toilet humor. Or both. The exception is Holtzmann's toast at the end. She was serious for as long as it took to say it, and for Patty to say thank you.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • In minor example, Patty very quickly regrets wishing that she could have seen Abby and Erin's high school presentation on ghosts.
    • Martin Heiss wants to see a real ghost and he does. Unfortunately, it kills him.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Mayor of New York really, really doesn't like being compared to the Mayor from the movie Jaws.
    • Patty really doesn't like it when you pick on Kevin.
    • The ever-laid-back Holtzmann loses it if her equipment is vandalized, almost as a mother would react to someone hurting her children.
    • According to the extended cut, some Asshole Victim brings up Erin's past and calling her "ghost girl" and told her "go back to therapy, you freak!"... not a smart move, and Erin decks him for it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: While they all have their goofball quirks, Holtzmann and her uncanny ability to act wacky coupled with her skills at creating and utilizing dangerous science-based weaponry makes her the scourge of most ghosts.
  • Big Applesauce: The movie is set in New York City, just like the original.
  • Big Bad: The main antagonist is a human named Rowan who intentionally becomes a ghost in order to unleash the apocalypse, due to his hatred of humanity.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Erin saves the other three Ghostbusters as they're being crushed by the Stay-Puft parade balloon. She even coolly spits out a one-liner. Holtzmann has been rubbing off on her, all right.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Holtzmann (blonde), Gilbert (brunette) and Yates (redhead).
  • Bond One-Liner: "You've just been Holtzmanned!"
  • Brainless Beauty: Kevin, in contrast to Janine from the original movies being the Only Sane Man.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: We don't see the scene where it occurs, but it is implied that this has briefly happened to Erin and the other Ghostbusters following the "fake arrest" at the Mercado Hotel; Erin is separate from the other Ghostbusters for a significant portion of the third act, her plot and character arc has involved the tension created by her desire for academic respect / approval and her work with the Ghostbusters, and her Big Damn Heroes moment where she saves the others from the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man plays like the triumphant return of an estranged member of the band after a 10-Minute Retirement. However, watching the longer cut, the change is far less jarring — and still the additional deleted scenes give even more emphasis on the developments.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: As they are celebrating at the end of the Hotel bust, Kevin is seen eating a sandwich he picked up during the scene break, which they throw away. He then asks someone out of view to toss it back, for him to catch the sandwich he's given back, followed by several other items, all of which were thrown literally from right in front of them. The Ghostbusters visibly look at him in incredulity about how the HELL he did it. Though this also works when taken at face value. It might be the amazing way people naturally react to Kevin, or an after-effect of him having been their puppet-master, or a combination of both.
  • Brick Joke:
    • It's a Running Gag through the entire movie that Abby is a regular customer at a particular Chinese restaurant. She's on first name terms with the delivery guy. Yet she gets clear water instead of broth, one or no wontons, and one shrimp in her soup. Once the Ghostbusters save the city, though, Benny shows up with a large soup that is all wontons.
    • The EVP-recording Toilet Humor gag is a setup for The Stinger.
    • Patty says her uncle will be very upset when he sees the way they re-designed one of his hearse vehicles. Said uncle shows up in the final scene before the end credits (and played by Ernie Hudson), and he ain't happy.
    • A minor one: Someone makes a comment that Patty's big gaudy hoop earrings draw attention to the ladies, which Patty brushes off at the time, but in the next scene, she's wearing posts, which she sticks to for the rest of the movie. One could also argue that this signifies her taking the job seriously.
    • After getting slimed on every bust up to that point and commenting that "the slime seems to have it in for me personally," Erin manages to dodge a particularly heavy blast of ectoplasm during the final battle. She promptly cheers, "Ha! Missed me!"
    • At one point, Kevin is submitting for an audition and shows the Ghostbusters two head shots, both of him shirtless and holding a musical instrument. He asks which one makes him look more like a doctor. In the credits, more of Kevin's shirtless head shots are seen. In one of them, he is wearing a stethoscope.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: The tour guide of the haunted house from the start of the movie apparently soiled himself upon seeing a ghost, though he denies it.
  • Broken Bird: Erin Gilbert. As an eight-year old child, Erin was haunted by the ghost of an elderly neighbor who appeared at the end of her bed. Every night. For a year. Everyone thought she was crazy, and right through to adulthood, Erin cares most about being perceived as sane and respectable.
  • Broken Masquerade: At the end of the movie, it may not be a full Unmasqued World yet — the mayor is still denying everything to the public for one thing — but the Ghostbusters are starting to get respect and belief, and the mayor's aide admits the cover up is "not working".
  • Buffy Speak: Discussed, as Patty even says she's calling the weird device a "sparky thing" because she doesn't know what it is.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Holtzmann. She gleefully calls herself crazy and is enthusiastic about everything, but there is no doubt she knows her stuff. Everything she makes works — almost too well.
    Jillian: You found my pipe. I'm gonna make a ghost shotgun out of it. If that doesn't work, we can just swing it around and break stuff. Win-win!
  • The Cameo:
    • Most of the original Ghostbusters cast reappear in minor roles.
      • Bill Murray as a famed paranormal debunker mocking the efforts of the team. He is seen on TV and later visits them in person, only to be thrown out a window and killed by the ghost they previously caught.
      • Harold Ramis shows up as a bust (with an amused expression) at Columbia when Erin is fired. Daniel Ramis also appears briefly in his late father's stead.
      • Dan Aykroyd shows up as a cabby who refuses to help out Erin and appears unfazed by the explosion of ghosts in the city. He gets to say the line "I ain't afraid of no ghost."
      • Ernie Hudson is Patty's oft-mentioned uncle who runs a funeral home and loaned her the hearse they use for transportation. He shows up at the end asking for it back.
      • Annie Potts is a receptionist at a hotel who is every bit as sassy as Janine, even saying "What do you want?" in a distinctive Brooklyn accent.
      • Sigourney Weaver as Holtzman's mentor and equally quirky engineer in the ending sequence.
    • Many frequent Paul Feig collaborators also make small appearances. invoked
      • Dave "Gruber" Allen and Steve Bannos, from Freaks and Geeks, play the subway ghost and the flasher ghost in the finale, respectively.
      • Jessica Chaffin and Jamie Denbo, who had roles in both Spy and The Heat, appear as a couple of diner waitresses bickering over who has to serve Rowan. Adam Ray, also of both films, appears as an opening act for Ozzy Osbourne, as well as voicing Slimer.
      • Karan Soni, of Other Space, appears as an incompetent delivery boy for a Chinese restaurant. Joining him in smaller roles are co-stars Bess Rous as the Gertrude Aldridge ghost, Eugene Cordero as the bass player at the Ozzy Osbourne concert, and Milana Vayntrub as a homeless person in the subway. (And, of course, Neil Casey has a much larger role.)
  • Canon Immigrant: This isn't the first time Ghostbusters use grenade weaponry if you recall the Proton Grenades from the IDW continuity.
  • Cardboard Box of Unemployment: When Erin is fired from her job (after Abby and Jillian post the video of her covered in ectoplasm and shouting that she believes in ghosts). Abby and Jillian are terminated shortly after, but they forgo the bankers boxes and start wheeling equipment out with carts.
  • Casting Gag: Bill Murray plays a character that is essentially an Expy of Walter Peck from the original film; someone that Peter Venkman was very opposed to.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Swiss Army knife Erin receives. It saves the others from the giant balloon Stay Puff Marshmallow Man.
    • The nuclear device on top of Ecto-1. It is essential to closing Rowan's portal.
  • Colon Cancer: Erin and Abby's book Ghosts of Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal. In the extended cut, Erin's denial of having written it even includes "This is a different Erin Gilbert, one who likes long titles."
  • Comically Missing the Point: The Mayor at one point calls out the team after the rock concert, saying that their activities are drawing too much attention to themselves.
    Erin: Well, it's true that Patty wears big earrings.
    Patty: Hey, if being beautiful's a crime, then guilty as charged!
  • Connect the Deaths: The induced hauntings, plotted on a map, form an "X" with the imminent vortex's location at its nexus.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Jillian. Not only does she keep coming up with any number of gadgets for any kind of situation where you might need to eradicate a ghost, but she also apparently anticipated that she would meet her demise through being crushed by a spectral version of a Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, so she made a point to give Erin (the only Ghostbuster who does not end up under the balloon with her) a pen knife, while stressing that she should carry it all the time.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Rowan the janitor used theories from Abby's and Erin's book to concoct mechanisms that unleash ghosts.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Ivan Reitman, who directed the first two movies, walks behind the mayor on one of the last scenes.
    • Katie Dippold, the film's writer, plays the rental agent who finds the Ghostbusters their base of operations.
    • Director Paul Feig has two voice cameos, the "Ghost Hunters" announcer, and the boss mistreating Rowan through the radio (his on-screen appearance at the concert scene was eventually cut).
  • Creative Closing Credits
    • The Rowan-possessed Kevin the receptionist turns the police, SWAT team, and the DHS agents into his very own puppetmastered dance party to the tune of "Get Ghost!" Some of his hip-shakin' dance moves actually knock the credits out of alignment as they scroll up the screen.
    • The credits being manipulated continues even as the dance scene ends: beams, flying ghosts, etc. bump on the scrolling names, and the Ghostbusters trap sucks a "shadow" of the text above it.
    • The Ghostbusters' equipment gets closeup shots, and the women themselves each get an action shot of themselves in the credits.
    • There are also several Stingers that require viewers to stay all the way to the end of the credits.
  • Crush Blush: Erin is visibly blushing when she first meets Kevin.
  • Cultural Translation: In the French dub of the film, the scene where Patty unsuccessfully attempts to Crowd Surf makes a reference to the French singer Shy'm who was victim of the same failure in 2015.
  • Dance Party Ending: Spoofed and played with. Ghost Master Rowan has possessed Kevin and manipulates dozens of police, SWAT officers, and National Guard soldiers into a number of increasingly elaborate and ridiculous dances over the closing credits. It's implied to be what Rowan was doing while waiting for the Ghostbusters to arrive. This scene was meant for the film proper, but was cut due to pacing, then added back with the Creative Closing Credits constructed around it. The original scene was restored in the extended edition.
  • Dead All Along: Apparently Ed Mulgrave, who visits Erin to get her help with the Aldridge House haunting; when informed that they spoke with Mulgrave, the tour guide informs the Ghostbusters that Mulgrave is long dead. Subverted when it turns out that the person Erin spoke to was actually his son, Ed Mulgrave Jr. Erin irritably points out to the tour guide that she had clearly been referring to the living Ed Mulgrave.
  • Dead Star Walking: Poor Bill Murray only exists in the film to die.
  • Deader than Dead: Some of the ghosts are destroyed rather than captured. Its up in the air, however, as they could just be stunned, and were sucked into the portal before waking back up.
  • Description Cut: Abby claims that the institute she and Holtzman work for are fully supportive of their research and all they have to do is ask the dean for more money. Cut to the exasperated dean, who wasn't even aware that their department still existed and orders them out.
  • Destination Defenestration:
    • Martin Heiss is pushed out a window by Mayhem, the first ghost the leads caught.
    • Jillian is shoved out the same window by Abby, who is possessed by the ghost of Rowan. Patty manages to grab her on the way out.
  • Destructive Savior: Surprisingly averted for the most part, although testing the weapons they'll use to fight ghosts proves fairly destructive.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Holtzmann continues on dancing to Rhythm Of The Night" by Debarge momentarily before putting out the fire she accidentally started.
  • Disney Villain Death: Martin Heiss gets killed by being thrown out a window by Mayhem.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The gang all have shades of the original quintet, but with starkly different personalities and with the obvious difference.
    • Erin Gilbert has fashioned herself a skeptic like Peter Venkman (not to mention also being a Chivalrous Pervert), and behaves in a much more uptight fashion because of being a woman in an academic field who desperately wants to be taken seriously. She's also always getting slimed, like Venkman.
    • Abby Yates is the somewhat childish true believer like Ray Stantz, but a lot more aggressive and confrontational and much less meek.
    • Jillian Holtzmann is a somewhat odd super-scientist like Egon Spengler, but with a lot less The Spock and a lot more Mad Scientist. However, Jillian's nerdiness isn't cold and awkward at all; instead, she embraces her craziness. And while Egon was heavily implied to be asexual, Word of God is that Jillian is a lesbian note ; however, given Janine's crush on Egon and, in a meta sense, Holtzmann's massive lesbian fanbase, they both get all the babes.
    • Patty Tolan is a black non-scientist who joins the team like Winston Zeddemore, but without the calm, cool professionalism, instead not hiding how insane everything is (as well as having a love for New York history). Her character also gets more development, as she joins earlier in the film. Her joining is also directly tied to the main plot, while Winston joined due to the increased workload from an influx of ghost sightings.
    • Kevin is a Spear Counterpart to Janine Melnitz, both being receptionists hired to help, although Janine was a lot more competent than Kevin, who is... not. And, after he gets possessed, either Dana or Louis.
    • The tour guide who encounters Gertrude Aldridge could be considered the Spear Counterpart of the original film's librarian, both of whom have similar run-ins with a female specter and are asked embarrassingly personal questions about said encounter.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Erin by Kevin, constantly because she loves Eating the Eye Candy.
  • Ditzy Secretary: Kevin is a rare male example. He wears glasses but took the glass out so he didn't have to clean them, thinks covering his eyes blocks out sound, cannot figure out how to work a phone, cannot figure out that he's supposed to figure out how to work the phone, only announces appointments when the person has been waiting for at least ten minutes, and wanders off during the final battle to get a sandwich. Erin wanted to hire him because he is just so damn pretty, while the other girls went along with it because he was the only applicant.
  • Domestic Abuse: Erin's ex-boyfriend Phil in his Establishing Character Moment where he tries to control what Erin is wearing and what Erin is doing and criticizing her wardrobe. Not to mention, when Erin goes to kiss him on the cheek, he turns her down in favor of one of his friends seeing him, leaving Erin to awkwardly kiss him on the shoulder. The final nail in the coffin is when Erin gets fired from the university and Phil turns his back on her, literally as he doesn't want to face her nor be seen with her or associated with her anymore.
  • Dope Slap: Kevin finally gets a pseudo-one when Abby snatches away his sandwich and throws it into the street.
  • Drives Like Crazy:
    • Holtzmann usually drives Ecto-1 to and from bust sites. It's absolutely no surprise that she approaches driving the same way she does everything else, from trolling Erin with two fake drive-offs to lights-and-sirens rally racing through midtown Manhattan.
    • Rowan-possessed Kevin rides a motorcycle like crazy, complete with popping wheelies out of the alley behind the Chinese restaurant.
    • Slimer, when he carjacks Ecto-1.
      Abby: That thing's having the time of its life.
  • Driven to Suicide: Invoked and played with. Rowan kills himself in front of the ladies, and it looks like he did this only to avoid arrest. Erin soon figures out that he used his machine to turn himself into a ghost.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?:
    • The Ghostbusters are faced with skepticism and mockery at every turn. People make fun of them on their YouTube videos, the government of New York denounces them as attention-seeking pranksters, and they just can't seem to catch a break. Until the very end, anyway.
    • Rowan could relate, seeing as he had the same proclivity with ghosts as Erin did in life. Only difference was that his resentment towards his resenter's opted him to erase the bastardization called mankind from the world.
      Rowan: Then you must have been afforded the basic respect and dignity of a human being which I have been denied.
      Abby: Not really, people dump on us pretty much all the time.
      Rowan: I am a GENIUS. I see things no-one else does, and for it I am awarded with nothing but scorn and mockery.
  • Dumb Blond: The dumb blond is Kevin, the hunky prettyboy the ladies hire for their receptionist, although he's barely able to do the job.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Every time Chris Hemsworth is on the screen, often with appreciative commentary by Erin. Patty is clearly not interested, given her reaction to him grinding on her, Abby is actually shocked anyone would find him attractive, and Jillian is very gay.
  • Ectoplasm: A Running Gag involves Erin getting drenched with ectoplasm on nearly every bust.
    Erin: OK, it seems like the slime has it in for me, personally. That's all I'm saying.
  • Establishing Character Moment: A subtle example; at the beginning, after pranking Erin with the "EVP" fart joke, Abby and Jillian remark that no-one else had even come over to listen, let alone listened intently like Erin had. It's a sign that Erin is more of a believer than she wants to admit, since the likely reason no-one else even came over was because they didn't believe in Electronic Voice Projection to begin with.
  • Everyone Has Standards: It turns out the Kenneth J. Higgins Institute of Science, hardly an exemplary academic facility, considers itself above hosting Abby and Jillian's department.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The metal singer who starts bragging about Mayhem, the demon ghost that showed up, is promptly shoved by it into a wall of amplifiers.
  • Evil Laugh: Rowan lets out a rather menacing cackle when transforming into his One-Winged Angel form for the Final Battle.
  • Expospeak Gag: Jillian referring to Pringles potato crisps as "salty parabolas".
  • Eye Am Watching You: One of the Homeland Security agents tries to intimidate the Ghostbusters by topping off a Stay in the Kitchen speech with this gesture... after repeatedly failing to get into his own government-issue SUV successfully. The ladies break out the snark as he drives away, still performing the gesture out the window.
    Holtzmann: [waving goodbye, smiling] Do you think they actually have any genitals? Or is it more of a Ken doll situation?
    Abby: Huh... I'm thinking Ken doll. Just... smooth.
  • Flipping the Bird: Abby's Jerkass boss performs a whole series of juvenile variations while firing her and Jillian.
  • Fog Feet: Many ghosts, though not all. It is visually lampshaded when Slimer hits the accelerator of a car with nothing.
  • Forbidden Chekhov's Gun: The standard edition basically says "don't fire at the Ecto-1 because it has a nuke". The extended edition sets up and uses the same "crossing the streams" mechanic as in the original film, but it doesn't work.
  • For Science!: Holtzmann loves to build really dangerous ghost-fighting tools just because she can and is not much concerned for their safety. She gets that lack of concern from her mentor.
  • Frame Break: Some scenes in the 3D version had characters and elements protruding over the black letterbox bars. The 2D home video version also features this.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Rowan the janitor hates humanity because he's always been treated poorly by other people and thinks that the world, as a result, is garbage. That's why he's decided to be the bad guy. It's lampshaded as he immediately assumes that the Ghostbusters could never understand what he's been through, only for them to point out that the world at large isn't nice to them either.
    • In a heroic example, Erin proves to be so excited about proving ghosts exist because she was haunted by one as a tween. Once she told her parents about it, she was sent to therapy and consequently ridiculed and humiliated through her entire academic life for it until she turned her back on parapsychology and became hell-bent on being taken as serious and sane.
  • "Friends" Rent Control:
    • Averted. The cavernous former firehouse the real estate agent shows the women is laughably out of their budget.
      Erin: [smiling in excitement] So, how much is this place?
      Real Estate Agent: $21,000 a month.
      Erin: [still smiling] Burn in hell! ("Fuck you!" on the extended cut)
    • They do get the firehouse in the end, after the mayor's office puts the team on the city's payroll to further develop their research and equipment.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Holtzmann and Rowan are flip sides of the same coin but while Holtzman likes making weapons Rowan leans a little more into Steampunk Gadgeteer territory.
  • Genius Bruiser: One good and one evil. The evil version is the result of Rowan North's ghost possessing Kevin. On the good side, Holtzmann takes out an entire army of ghosts solo... but not single-handedly.
  • Genki Girl: Holtzmann, who is rarely seen without a smile and/or scenery-chewing enthusiasm.
  • Genre Savvy: Patty mentions that she's seen enough of the The Shining to know that ghosts mean bad news. When she sees a room full of mannequins, Patty goes "nope" and walks out.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: How Patty exorcises Rowan out of Abby. The first time does the trick, but she slaps one more time before realizing it succeeded.
  • Ghost Invasion: Rowan North, the film's Big Bad, kills himself so he can become a powerful ghost and command an army of spirits to bring about the apocalypse. North possesses the Ghostbusters' secretary Kevin and opens a portal that releases hundreds of ghosts on New York City.
  • Ghostly Animals: A swarm of ghost rats emerges from a subway entrance, scampering on air. Sightings of a ghost polar bear provide one of the waypoints by which the Ghostbusters Connect the Deaths.
  • Groin Attack: The Ghostbusters shoot Rowan, in his giant bow-tie-wearing ghost form, in the crotch with their proton packs. Patty even asks if that was where they were supposed to aim...
  • Guns Akimbo: Jillian's big moment comes immediately when she remembers she holstered two ghost guns, and does an all-out one woman assault on a bunch of ghosts around them.
  • Hand Cannon: Erin is given one, which even warrants a "Say hello to my little friend!" upon first use.
  • Happy Dance: Several. The Establishing Character Moment for Erin and Holtzmann's friendship is danced to "Rhythm of the Night" by DeBarge. Later, the Ghostbusters celebrate their first ghost capture by dancing to "Party Up" by DMX.
  • Haunted House Historian:
    • The tour guide for the Aldridge house, who uses remote control fakery to imply haunting until the real Aldridge house ghost actually shows up.
    • Patty knows background information about various sites in the city and most of it is relevant to the issues at hand.
  • Heroic BSoD: In the extended edition, Erin is subjected to this after thwarting the Big Bad's initial attempt. In order: the mayor's attache debunks their work, calling them sad and pathetic; random citizen invokes her Berserk Button by calling her "ghost girl" and then questioning her sanity, which gets him punched out; tabloids run a story of her punching out said bastard and giving him the finger, which prompts the TV news organizations to dig deeper and discover her former association with Columbia University, including a very dismissive soundbyte from the head of her department, the inimitable Charles Dance; and just to put the final nail in the coffin, even the dean of the third-rate tech college Abby and Jillian used to work at craps on her and then tries to plug his new album.
  • Hidden Depths: The cabbie Erin hails towards the end of the film cuts her off to correctly identify the classification of ghosts marauding the city.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: In an interview, Paul Feig heavily hinted that Holtzmann is supposed to be a lesbian, but implied that he had to be coy about it because of Sony.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Martin Heiss goads Erin into showing him proof of the ghosts that the Ghostbusters have been hunting. He gets proof alright. The dragon-like ghost flies right into his face and shoves him through a window.
  • Hollywood Homely: Played with.
    • Erin dresses extremely conservatively while at Columbia for fear of appearing "too sexy". She relaxes that style some once teamed up with Abby and Jillian, but remains socially awkward and nervous, even when trying to be flirty and social.
    • Abby cultivates an attitude of not caring what other people think, but on the back of the book, she and Erin both have very elegant author photos.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: The movie explicitly shows the girls' ghostbusting tech in either preliminary stages, like the subway scene with the proton pack, or being tested in the alley. The only tech that isn't explicitly shown this way is Erin's proton shotgun/Hand Cannon. Conceivably, Holtzmann worked off-screen on changing it from the lead pipe earlier seen.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: Attempted by Holtzmann when Patty tries to give her a high-five. Patty tries to evade it, so Holtz just goes "mwah" at her hand.
  • Implausible Deniability: Erin regarding a book she possibly wrote. First, she says it's not her, then that it's a namesake, that the author pictured there doesn't look like her, and ultimately that she wrote the whole thing as a joke ("The very first words in this book are 'This is not a joke'...").
  • Inappropriate Hunger: Holtzmann casually eats Pringles chips during their first ghost encounter, prompting Erin's ire.
    Erin: How can you be eating right now?
    Holtzmann: Once you pop...
  • Incompatible Orientation: Holtzmann with Erin.
  • Incongruously-Dressed Zombie: One of the ghosts in the big street battle is dressed as a Pilgrim, and a Flasher Ghost flashes his skeleton at passersby. There's also the one dressed as Uncle Sam, including stilts.
  • Indirect Kiss: Erin is happy to drink the coffee that Kevin spat back into the mug, but Abby stops her as she can't stand to watch it.
  • Institutional Apparel: The second ghost, in the subway, is the ghost of a prisoner who was put in the electric chair. He is wearing a striped outfit.
  • It's Been Done: In the extended cut, an unamused Ozzy Osbourne comments on the capture of Mayhem with "Wankers! Black Sabbath did that shit in '74."
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: Some of the human ghosts, specially the electric chair victim on the subway, are wearing what they died in.
  • Jerkass:
    • The "dean" of the university Abby and Jillian were working for. He dresses them down and then does an unnecessarily elaborate Flipping the Bird as he tells them to get out.
    • The Mayor and his assistant, who feel that discrediting the Ghostbusters despite them really doing a valued service for the city, is the best way to avoid panic — no matter how cruel it is to the women.
    • The Graffiti Artist who vexes Patty while she works in the subway; he thinks it's his gallery.
    • Erin's boss at Columbia is very strict about everything, even down to how she dresses. The fact her boss is Tywin Lannister only helps sell this.
    • Kevin, who is mostly dopey, has his own jerkass moments: He picks up the phone and hangs up on callers because he's "just not into that conversation" and stops to get a sandwich at the deli under the pretense of looking for the Ghostbusters during the fray. Considering the fact that he is the team's ditz (and the fact the Ghostbusters go to rescue him mainly because he just figured out how to properly answer the phone) he literally just may not know any better.
  • Jump Scare:
    • When the Aldridge Mansion ghost projectile vomits all over Erin.
    • When the subway ghost frightens Patty with screeches and electric shocks.
  • Karma Houdini: The Ghostbusters are never punished for accidentally killing a man and deliberately releasing a dangerous ghost onto the public. In fact, said incident is never referred to again. It's implied that the mayor's office covered it up.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Abby and Erin were each other's only friend in childhood because they were ridiculed maliciously by their fellow kids for believing in ghosts.
  • Laugh of Love: Erin giggles whenever she's around Kevin.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Abby gets Erin fired by posting the video of Erin getting slimed by a ghost and. While Erin is crying, Abby reassures her that she can get hired at this university, with a bit of Never My Fault about it. Cue Abby and Holtzmann getting fired because the dean forgot their department existed.
  • Last-Name Basis: Holtzmann is exclusively referred to by her last name or diminutives thereof. The one and only time someone addresses her as Jillian, it's an Out-of-Character Alert - the other party is possessed.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Erin, despite being the reasonable and somewhat mousy one, goes into full badass mode for the final battle.
  • Ley Line: Rowan is creating supernatural incidents along the ley lines crossing Manhattan to break down the dimensional barrier and unleash the ghost apocalypse.
  • Lighter and Softer: Generally speaking, the franchise has always sat in the middle of the Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror, with large amounts of Nightmare Fuel to go along with the laughs. This movie is a more traditional comedy in the vein of Paul Feig's other films.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: The ghost-channeling devices, which are electrical in nature and explained as based around ionizing the paranormal energy.
  • The Load: Kevin utterly fails at his job, distracts the professional Ghostbusters with his wacky antics, and ends up captured by the villain, forcing the Ghostbusters to rescue him.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Abby and Erin end up with shock white hair after they've gone to the other side and come back, but they dye it back to more mundane colors soon after the final battle. "Mundane" for Erin being Garfield red... and that's the president, not the cat.
  • Logical Weakness: The ghost who takes the shape of a Stay-Puft parade balloon is destroyed through... a Swiss Army knife.
  • Loners Are Freaks: Rowan gives off this vibe, and it's even lampshaded.
  • Loud Gulp: Erin audibly gulps due to being speechless by how attractive Kevin is.
  • Love at First Sight: Erin immediately becomes attracted to Kevin upon first meeting.
  • Love Triangle: Holtzmann/Erin/Kevin.
  • Made of Iron:
    • The proton packs take a lot of punishment in this movie, mostly from having Ghostbusters fall onto them, but also from a deliberate attempt at sabotage. They don't seem any worse for wear. Justified, as Holtzmann built them.
    • While testing out the proton pack, Abby gets smashed around the alleyway pretty hard, bouncing off the pavement and brick walls, but suffers no ill-effects.
  • Mad Scientist: Holtzmann with her casual disregard for safety and expanding arsenal of nuclear-powered ghost-busting weapons. While Rowan builds devices to summon ghosts because he believes the world needs to end. Has a big speech too.
    • During an epilogue scene, we meet Holtzmann's mentor, the Sigourney Weaver cameo, and she shares the same disregard for safety equipment and love of strange devices, as well as an old-fashioned gothic-style suit which seems reminiscent of Holtzmann's wardrobe.
  • Magic Versus Science: This time around ghosts are little more than pests to be exterminated when confronted by the power of science. They're only able to become a true threat when harnessed by a human using science, which he at least partially copied from the Ghostbusters' own technology. Effectively: Science is fighting itself, and Magic is helpless and caught in the middle.
  • Magitek: A ghost-channeling machine is responsible for the hauntings this time around.
  • Manchild: On top of being a ditz, Kevin is pretty childlike. He knocks off work so he can participate in a hide-and-seek tournament.
  • The Man in the Mirror Talks Back: Rowan's ghostly cohorts manifest as spectres behind a number of mirrors, which break in the climax.
  • The Masquerade: The NYC government and the Department Homeland Security are fully aware that the supernatural is real, and are trying to cover up the ghostly happenings to prevent mass panic. Their efforts seem to grow increasingly ineffective as ghost sightings mount.
  • Medium Blending: When Rowan turns into his final form as the cute ghost from the team logo, he initially appears as a traditionally animated character. Then he starts turning massive.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Rowan believes humanity is sick and needs to be wiped out. His Establishing Character Moment has him refer to the others on the subway platform as "walking sewage".
  • The Missus and the Ex: The initial dynamic between Erin, Abby and Holtzmann plays something like this; although never (overtly identified as) a romantic couple, Erin and Abby were research partners and friends until Erin 'dumped' Abby, leading to initial tension and awkwardness when Erin reenters Abby's life only to find that Abby has replaced her with Holtzmann, a younger, more dynamic and confident partner with whom she appears to gel better. Gradually downplayed, however, as beyond that initial tension Erin and Abby gradually begin to renew their friendship and, beyond some initial protectiveness and teasing, Holtzmann doesn't show that much hostility towards Erin (and in fact seems much fonder of flirting incessantly with her).
  • Mistaken for Racist: When Patty crowd-dives, the crowds refuse to catch her and let her drop. She immediately asks them if it was "a race thing" or "a lady thing" and was now angry. Turns out the people didn't catch her because she had a ghost on her shoulders.
  • Mr Fan Service: While not as buff as his other roles, Chris Hemsworth's physique is quite admired by Erin. Abby complains about this when they have to drag him across the floor.
  • Mundane Utility: The Ghostbusters "uniforms" are nothing of the kind. They're just coveralls used by subway workers, with reflective tape for high visibility. Patty got them by way of apology for bringing them into the filthy subway in their civilian clothes.
  • Murderous Mannequin: Mayhem is first found by the Busters possessing one.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Shortly after Patty joins the team:
    Erin: We're all scientists! ... Plus Patty.
  • My Greatest Failure: Erin's book she published with Abby, to the point of being horrified it's on Amazon and being promoted actively by Abby since it could endanger her career as a serious scientist.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In a cross with Freeze-Frame Bonus, one Times Square ad is "That's a Big Twinkie".
    • Slimer puts in an appearance, as well as a female version. And like in the second movie, he's driving.
    • The final 1920s parade balloon ghost is the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, who nearly kills three of the Ghostbusters.
    • Crossing with Freeze-Frame Bonus, the LEDs on Holtzmann's pack read "1984", the year the original movie came out.
    • The first place the 'Busters see as a potential headquarters is the same location used in the original film (Hook & Ladder Company 8, which in real life is still in operation). Whereas in the original, it was severely dilapidated and they only chose the location because Ray liked the fire pole, in the reboot they all love it but can't afford the $21,000/month rent. They move there in the end after the Mayor decides to support them.
    • Once Abby asks "Who You Gonna Call?" the television behind them starts a show named "Ghost Jumpers".
    • The villain again makes a giant version of something a Ghostbuster thought would be harmless-the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man in the original movie, a monstrous Bedsheet Ghost based on the Ghostbusters logo here).
    • The remaining Ghostbusters backing away once one of them mentions having a "nuclear accelerator" on their back.
    • All of the Remake Cameos, as listed in their entry below.
    • When Erin is removed from the restaurant, she pulls on a tablecloth, with rather less success than Venkman had in the original.
    • One of the stingers at the end of the movie has Patty listening to an EVP recording and suddenly asking "What's Zuul?" Zuul being one of Gozer's harbingers in the original Ghostbusters movie, best known for possessing Sigourney Weaver.
    • Here's a subtle one: In the original film, Winston told the mayor, "I've seen shit that'll turn you white!" When they emerge from the portal at the end, Abby and Erin both have white hair.
    • When we first see Abby, she is wearing what looks like a crash-helmet covered in electronics, similar to the helmet Rick Moranis briefly wore in the original movie when Egon was studying him.
    • While trying to think of a flyer slogan, Abby comes up with "If there's something strange in your neighborhood..." before being cut off.
    • Ghost Rowan asks the Ghostbusters to choose his form for the final battle, as Gozer did in the first Ghostbusters.
    • The earlier scene where Abby tries to talk Rowan down inverts part of that confrontation with Gozer: instead of Ray being unable to avoid thinking of something, Abby isn't able to think of anything but "soup".
    • A taxi driver utters the famous "I ain't afraid of no ghosts!" line.
    • Big Bad Rowan's motivations are similar to that of Ivo Shandor, the Gozer-worshipping architect and cult-leader from the backstory of the first movie (and Big Bad of the 2009 video game). Shandor, like Rowan believed that humanity was sick and needed to be wiped out. Shandor's belief stemmed from the horrors of World War I and Rowan's come from being bullied his whole life.
    • The Ghostbusters' answering machine recording is Kevin saying "Ghostbusters, what do you want?", referencing Janine Melnitz's rather biting delivery of the line in the first film. Janine's actress, Annie Potts, even says "What do you want?" during her Remake Cameo, exactly like she did in the mentioned scene.
    • Near the end, the giant logo monster steps on a taxi cab like the Statue of Liberty stepped on a police cruiser in Ghostbusters II.
    • Erin having a meltdown at the Mayor in the middle of his fancy dinner is a call back to the scene in Ghostbusters 2 wherein Ray and Winston are desperate to convince Venkman of a serious threat while he's at a fancy dinner.
    • The ghost that chases Patty in the subway is a direct reference to the Scoleri Brothers, the first two ghosts to show up in Ghostbusters II — criminals who were sent to the electric chair.
    • Kevin does something irrelevant during the climax which he mistakenly thinks defeats the main villain, much like Louis Tully in Ghostbusters 2.
    • The film's opening sequence in Aldridge Manor features a portrait of Gertrude Aldridge, who murdered all of the house's servants and was locked in the basement for the rest of her life. The portrait is of a woman wearing a rather nasty scowl on her face, and seems much like Vigo the Carpathian's portrait from Ghostbusters II.
    • Holtzmann's appearance seems to have been based off of Egon Spengler's design in The Real Ghostbusters, especially the pompadour. Paul Feig said it was unintentional, as the hair team did not know about it. Similarly, the Mercado receptionist played by Annie Potts spots pointy glasses that were only ever worn by the animated Janine Melnitz.
    • The scene where Erin rescues Abby from the portal also references The Real Ghostbusters episode "The Hole In The Wall Gang," specifically the scene where Ray is pulled through a portal to the ghost world and comes back with white hair.
    • At the very end Erin attempts to go back to a variation on her natural color with Garfield hair dye. The orange cat has shared voice actors with both animated and live-action Peter Venkman.
    • The grenade Holtzmann designs that's "only dangerous to ghosts" is essentially the Ghost Bomb from The Real Ghostbusters episode "The Bogeyman Cometh."
    • Erin started studying the supernatural because she was haunted as a child by a ghost who appeared in her room night after night — just like the animated series revealed about Egon and the Bogeyman.
    • The logo ghost becoming a free walking and dangerous apparition also references The Real Ghostbusters, where the ghost does something very similar in the Title Sequence.
    • The "ghost" hood ornament owes something to the ECTO-1 of the cartoon show, which used a No-Ghost logo in the same way.
    • The haunting locales are plotted on a map to pinpoint the imminent vortex's position, similar to how the guys in Ghostbusters: The Video Game transposed the mandala over a map to find the other hauntings.
    • An early script for the original Ghostbusters involved the characters travelling to different time periods during the battle with Gozer. In the new film, Rowan transforms parts of New York into how they looked during New York's "golden age" (apparently the 1970s) and the Ghostbusters battle various ghosts from various historical periods, including Pilgrims and a 1920s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
    • The early Ghost Smashers script, which took place in the future, specified that the 'Busters tooled around in a 1970s/1980s-era Cadillac hearse/ambulance, which these Busters happen to use.
  • Never My Fault: Abby and Holtzmann post the video of Erin getting slimed by a ghost, resulting in Erin getting fired. While Erin is crying, a sympathetic Abby says they had to post the video to tell the world.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The film's teaser trailer mentions that the original film happened "30 years ago", implying that this film was a Passing the Torch continuation of the original series similar to Creed or The Force Awakens. The original cast having not-yet-disclosed roles in the film also seemed to support this. The film is actually a complete Continuity Reboot of the series, and the original actors play unrelated, minor characters.
    • The trailers make Abby out to be the main character, when it's actually an ensemble cast and Erin has the most character growth. Also, they present Patty as the stereotypical Loud Ghetto Black Woman, but this is toned down in favor of emphasizing her social connections and knowledge of practical matters and local history.
    • When Patty gets a car for the ladies, Abby is uneasy that it's a hearse. In the trailer, Patty replies, "It's a Cadillac!", but in the movie, she doesn't say this line at all and instead makes a longer, more convincing argument to keep it.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Abby publishing the book gave Rowan a guidebook to unleashing the apocalypse.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Rowan seems to have some sympathy towards blue collar workers, and tells Patty that being a laborer means that she'll be one of the last to be led to the butchery, so she she should be grateful for her extra time.
  • Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: Rowan's copy of Ghosts of Our Past, which he has filled with drawings of how he plans to destroy the world. It's unnerving.
  • No Longer with Us: Inverted by Patty's uncle; when she tells him the car is "on the other side" he asks "You mean in Jersey?"
  • No Ontological Inertia: Destroying the ghost portal also reassembles the hotel Rowen destroyed during his transformation.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Played with for laughs: Kevin thinks he's this, but his sum contribution to the climax aside from getting possessed and needing to be rescued involves pressing some buttons on a completely unrelated machine somewhere and getting a sandwich with a drink and a muffin while looking for the women. The Ghostbusters, needless to say, are unimpressed.
  • Noodle Incident: The Mayor and Those Two Guys from Homeland Security rattle off a list of other large scale supernatural events that got covered up to enforce The Masquerade. They range from UFOs to a town where everybody got turned inside out.
    • An lab accident Holtzmann was responsible for years ago.
    Erin: Um, what happened?
    Holtzmann: There was a lab accident.
    Abby: But he's gonna wake up.
    Holtzmann: He woke up yesterday.
    Abby: Great.
    Holtzmann: Then he screamed and went back to a coma.
    Abby: Well, i bet all that screaming tuckered him out.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Abby expresses surprise when Erin asks whether she finds Kevin attractive. It's implied that Kevin is just too stupid for Abby to see him that way. Patty clearly isn't interested when he starts grinding on her, and Holtzmann is a lesbian.
  • Not Herself: Abby behaves strangely while possessed, enough that her compatriots are suspicious but don't immediately realize what's happening.Holtzmann twigs to it first, due to Possessed!Abby calling her Jillian. Holtz, of course, is on a Last-Name Basis with her fellow 'busters, which Abby knows but the ghost doesn't.
  • Novelization: One of the "junior" variety by Stacia Deutsch, and one of the more conventional kind by Nancy Holder.
  • Obviously Evil: When Gertrude's ghost emerges from the cellar, she's wearing a look of absolute malevolence. It's pretty clear a hundred years of death hasn't changed her disposition one bit.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Rowan's first appearance has him appear in front of Patty's booth out of nowhere.
  • Oh, Crap!: Twice over the earth starts trembling around Erin and she thinks that the event triggered by Rowan is starting. The first time is just a dumpster passing near her. The second time is for real.
    Erin: It's happening!
  • Old Shame: Erin's book on the paranormal Ghosts From Our Past, co-authored with Abby.
  • The One Guy: Kevin is the only dude working for the Ghostbusters, as they are all female.
  • One-Winged Angel: During the climactic showdown, Rowan takes the form of a giant mutated version of the ghost from the Ghostbusters' logo.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Of all kinds, including humanoids, a gargoyle-like demon, a chittering Swarm of Rats, and parade balloons.
    • The method of ghostbusting is also much freer than the originals. In the originals, the ghosts were confined with proton streams and then sucked into the trap: that was essentially the only way the boys could deal with the average ghost. Here, while the girls can still do the zap-and-trap, the ghosts can also be defeated (maybe even "killed") by the various weapons, without bothering with the trapnote .
  • Overly-Long Gag: Several scenes contain awkward situations which get stretched out to absurd lengths of time, with one or more protagonists making snarky comments about them. Many of these are made even longer in the extended edition.
  • Overly-Nervous Flop Sweat: Erin sweats around Kevin due to how hot he is. Abby lampshades this when she returns and meets Kevin.
    Abby: Okay, I...God, you're all sweaty.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When Erin, Abby and Holtzmann encounter the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge, Holtzmann is happily munching on some Pringles.
    Erin: How can you be eating at a time like this?!
    Holtzmann (Theatrical Version): You try saying no to these salty parabolas.
    Holtzmann (Extended Edition): Once you pop...
  • People Puppets: Rowan does this, while possessing Kevin, to the soldiers who show up. Happens on a large scale in the climax when the villain controls the amassed NYPD and National Guard.
  • Percussive Maintenance: Effective against possession; "THE POWER OF PATTY COMPELS YOU! *SMACK*"
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Rather parodied. Patty's relentless cheerfulness is wasted on the cranky and crazy subway riders. Rowan attempts to comfort her by assuring her "the laborers" will be the last to die in the coming apocalypse. Perhaps he saw her as a comrade in blue collar work; Patty just sees him as another undiagnosed nut job she has to deal with.
    • Subverted when Rowan gives Kevin back. He says, "You can have him" and proceeds to toss Kevin's body from a potentially fatal height.
  • Pillar of Light: The portal that unleashes ghosts upon NYC in the climax extrudes a blue and green pillar that can be seen from everywhere.
  • Place Worse Than Death: The bear trap-like contraption seen on the trailer transports ghosts to other places. Holtzmann's not sure where the end point is, but is pretty sure it's in Michigan. Sorry, Lansing.
  • Plausible Deniability: The mayor attempts to pull this on the Ghostbusters' activity (his cabinet is not denying what they're doing is real; they only want the public to not know it to avoid panic).
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Alright, ghost! It's chipping time! *turns on machine* That's what you get for sitting on me!" and "Say hello to my little..."
  • Product Placement:
    • Of the self-serving kind. There's a giant ad for Sony's Blu-ray format in Times Square. Furthermore, all the "ghost posters" that appear as Manhattan billboards (including Taxi Driver and Tommy) are movies that were produced by the film's production company, Columbia Pictures, which Sony also owns.
    • One of the logos suggested by Kevin for the ghost-hunting business is just the 7-11 logo.
    • They also eat Papa John's pizza in a scene reminiscent of "this magnificent feast represents the last of the petty cash."
    • Jillian also eats Pringles when confronting a ghost.
    • Enterprise Rent-a-car is also mentioned when Patty acquires the hearse.
  • Queer Establishing Moment: A subtle one. Holtzmann introducing herself to Erin.
  • Raising the Steaks: A swarm of ghost rats emerges from a subway entrance, scampering on air. Sightings of a ghost polar bear provide one of the waypoints by which the GBs Connect the Deaths.
  • Rearrange the Song: As is procedure with reboots, the theme song gets the standard rock/rap remix, in this case provided by Fall Out Boy & Missy Elliot. However, a more traditional cover was also provided by Walk The Moon.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Played with; the Mayor, his assistant and the Homeland Security agents actually are aware of the paranormal situation (in general terms, at least, since they're clearly not prepared for the specifics) and in private are willing to work with and take the Ghostbusters seriously. In public, however, they ridicule, humiliate and demean them in order to maintain The Masquerade.
  • Recoiled Across the Room: The recoil of the first prototype proton pack sends Abby flying around in an Overly-Long Gag.
  • Re-Cut: The Blu-Ray includes an extended cut adding 20 minutes to the movie.
  • Remake Cameo: All of the original cast but the late Harold Ramis (whose likeness is still featured in a bust; the movie is also dedicated to him) and the retired/reclusive Rick Moranis. In order of appearance:
    • Harold Ramis appears as a bust just outside Erin's office at Columbia University, and his son Daniel plays one of the metal fans.
    • Bill Murray appears as the supernatural debunker who helps cast doubt on the women's scientific activities.
    • Annie Potts is a manager of the hotel where Rowan works and directs the Ghostbusters where to find him. She even tosses out her signature "Whaddaya want?" line from the first movie.
    • Dan Aykroyd is a cabbie who refuses to take Erin into Chinatown—"I don't drive to Chinatown, I don't drive no wackos, and I ain't afraid of no ghost".
    • Ernie Hudson is Patty's uncle who owns the funeral home, and who loaned them the hearse that Jillian tricked out and was eventually lost in the final battle.
    • Sigourney Weaver appears as Jillian's mentor both in nuclear engineering and Mad Scientist persona.
  • Reverse Polarity: Just like the original, the climax solved by applying this to the source of paranormal activity. Only this time it means that instead of releasing ghosts, it sucks them like the Ghostbusters' traps.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: It turns out that Erin was right to lambast Abby for publishing their book without her consent. Erin's reason, that Abby didn't ask her permission as co-author and it makes Erin look bad, was actually valid but also it turns out, Rowan used their research to create his apocalypse plan.
  • Right-Hand Hottie: Kevin, whom Erin hires because she fancies him rather than because he's qualified.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Rowan's go at becoming a "cute, tiny" ghost at Patty's request turns him into a traditionally animated and very adorable version of the ghost from the Ghostbusters' logo.
  • Rule of Cool: Justified by Holtzmann. A lot of their weapons are badass, but others don't seem to have any particular advantage over weapons they already had other than aesthetics. It seems that Holtzmann just likes building them.
  • Running Gag:
    • Abby is constantly disappointed with the soup she receives from the Chinese food restaurant, which only contains a single wonton. Turns into a Brick Joke at the end credits when the Ghostbusters are famous and beloved by NY, her delivery guy shows up with a soup container packed chock-a-block with wontons... which she's still disappointed with.
      Abby: All I want is a reasonable ratio of wontons to broth! This is absolute madness!
    • Erin somehow always comes into close contact with ectoplasmic goo. She even asks if the slime has a personal thing against her.
    • Erin's infatuation with Kevin.
    • Kevin being completely unable to answer the phone properly.
    • Kevin keeps forgetting that he hates coffee... until after he takes a sip.
    • Alone or together, the main characters keep indulging in impromptu dances, sometimes even when possessed, putting out fires, or engaged in combat.
    • In conversation with themselves and others, the Ghostbusters have a tendency to get sidetracked and derail the conversation into irrelevant tangents. For example, an argument in the Mayor's office about the need for The Masquerade somehow turns into a squabble between Erin and Abby arguing over the meaning of the phrase "the cat's out of the bag".
  • Same Race Means Related: A particular egregious example, since the majority of the main actors from the original Ghostbusters (1984) make appearances as different characters in this film, from Sigourney Weaver to Bill Murray. When Ernie Hudson (who was famously kept off of the first film's poster and had to deal with a script downgrade that made his Ghostbuster the only one who wasn't a parapsychology professor) makes his appearance, he's playing the uncle to the character portrayed by Leslie Jones (who also was the sole non-white Ghostbuster and not a parapsychology professor). None of the returning white actors played characters related to the new generation of white Ghostbusters.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Patty's role as an MTA worker turned Ghostbuster appears to be this in the trailers, but it's downplayed in the film: she's not appreciably more acerbic than the other Ghostbusters (she is, in fact, quite warm and friendly), and her practical knowledge of the city and its history, as well as her social connections, turn out to be the important part of her character in the film.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The theater manager tells the ghostbusters that people tell him his scream is fairly "unnerving". It is demonstrated later, when he sees the ghost attack the Mayhem concert.
  • Secret Handshake: Abby and Jillian have a pretty elaborate one. (More as a celebratory ritual than one for greeting)
  • Sequel Hook: One of the stingers has Patty listening to an EVP recording and suddenly asking "What's Zuul?"
  • Shadow Archetype: Rowan is this to the Ghostbusters, being a scientist who has been ridiculed for years for his beliefs, but while they've soldiered on and made the best of things, he's determined to destroy the world as revenge.
  • Shared Mass Hallucination: A newsreader near the end asks the mayor if he's going to say that the ghosts are actually hallucinations caused by terrorists poisoning the water supply.
  • Ship Tease: In the film-as-released, Holtzmann seems particularly keen on flirting with Erin, but it's made more overt in the extended version. A deleted scene involves her actually claiming that she and Erin are dating... much to Erin's surprise.
    Holtzmann: Whoops. Back to the drawing board on that one.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Invoked: Patrick Swayze movies, especially Ghost (1990). For Rule of Funny, the reference is jumbled with Dirty Dancing. They suggest adding in Roadhouse 1989 to complete the reference train wreck.
    • Poltergeist: in which interacting too closely with the other side turns one's hair shock white. Also, the fact that Erin clamped a cable on herself to go after Abby, and the other two women had to tow them back from the other side.
    • Jaws: another invoked example as Abby calls the Mayor of New York out for behaving like the Mayor in that - a comparison no politician wants to receive.
    • The Exorcist: Possession themes and the whole scene where Abby is possessed (featuring the 360-degree head spin, spewing green goo everywhere (in the extended version), and "The power of * compels you!").
      • Kevin, while possessed, does another head spin while dancing.
    • Patty references Oprah Winfrey when she brings the hearse to their headquarters.
      Patty: You get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car!!
    • Holtzmann's name is a reference to the Holtzman Effect that makes folding space possible in Dune; her gadgets are used to close a hole between dimensions.
    • The plastic dummies that come to life and chase Patty are reminiscent of the Auton duplicates in Doctor Who.
    • During the final confrontation with Rowan, Holtzman sings "Come out, come out, wherever you are..."
    • Some of the ghostbusting equipment strongly resembles the Fentons'. The Ghost Chipper works the same way as the Ecto Converter from the Danny Phantom episode "Secret Weapons" (the difference being Holtzmann's is intended to shred ghosts, while for the Fentons, it was an irrelevant side-effect). The Proton Glove is essentially (one of) the Ghost Gloves introduced in "Splitting Images." Martin Heiss also refers to the (now cylindrical) Ghost Trap as a "thermos."
    • ScarFace: Erin shouting "Say hello to my little friend!" when firing a proton cannon at ghosts at the climatic battle.
    • The show "Ghost Jumpers" that Abby derides as the public perception of paranormal science, and from which the team indirectly takes their name, is a reference to Ghost Hunters, which in a strange recursion, was itself named after the original Ghostbusters.
    • In her first few scenes, Holtzmann is wear a green shirt and blue overalls. Kinda like another paranormal investigator.
    • Rowan's plot glens a bit from Lollipop Chainsaw as that game's villain, Swan, was likewise bullied in life and turned to supernatural forces to exact his revenge. Right down to killing himself to enact his final phase of his plan and even summoning a giant monster. Though, unlike Swam, who did so to summon said monster. Rowan is said monster.
  • The Show Must Go On: The metal band, Mayhem, keep playing without missing a beat.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Emitted by non-human ghosts such as Slimer (humanoids are blue instead) and the portal that unleashes ghosts.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Rowan, the main antagonist in the film, is almost completely absent from the marketing, aside from showing up as the giant logo ghost. He makes a very brief appearance at the end of the second trailer.
  • Skyscraper Messages: One of the multiple inter-credits Stingers. After Holtzmann has a reunion with her mentor, Patty calls the team to the roof. From the top of the firehouse, they can see that buildings all across New York have had their windows lit up strategically to spell out messages of love and thanks to the Ghostbusters.
  • Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness: The 2016 film places much more emphasis on humor compared to the original, with the heroines constantly cracking jokes and even making fun of the setting itself, such as protesting against the name "Ghostbusters".
  • Spanner in the Works: Rowan's scheme might have succeeded without a hitch if not for Patty, not yet a Ghostbuster, who nevertheless followed him, saw his device and the ghost it summoned, and spoke to the Ghostbusters, leading the investigation back to him.
  • Spit Take: Played with. When Abby asks Kevin if he remembered to put sugar in her coffee, he checks by tasting it and immediately spitting it out because he hates coffee.
  • Stealing from the Till: When Abby and Holtzmann are fired from their third-rate technical college, they immediately loot their lab's equipment and walk off with as much of it as they can pile on a cart.
  • Stealth Pun: When Bill Murray's character is interviewed, he's referred to as a "notorious buster".
  • Stealth Sequel: Actually inverted, in spite of what a lot of the marketing would try to tell you; while the movie is being advertised as a sequel, it's really just a reboot.
  • The Stinger: The Ghostbusters are in their lab working while Patty is listening to a recording. She turns to ask Erin, "What's Zuul?"
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Rowan literally storyboards the apocalypse, drawing step-by-step illustrations of his plan to destroy the world in his copy of the ghost book.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: The group has an official sounding name, and keep trying to insist on it, but after everyone starts calling them "Ghostbusters", they just roll with it.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Erin is on track for tenure at Columbia University. Abby and Holtzmann videotape her getting slimed by a ghost, and delightfully talking about it. They then post it online, where it goes viral that Erin's boss sees it. He quickly fires her for unprofessionalism. The same thing happens with Abby and Holtzmann's boss when they ask him to hire Erin, only he is the unprofessional one.
    • A real estate agent shows the women a huge space in a fancy area in New York. They all get excited by its cleanliness and potential. How much is the rent? $21,000 per month. They have to settle for the second floor of a Chinese restaurant.
    • Martin Heiss shows up without an appointment to the Ghostbusters address, clearly planning to bust them with a surprise inspection. Abby and Holtzmann warn him that the ghost they caught is violent and needs a proper containment area; he doesn't believe them, motivating Erin to show the proof. When he finds out that they're telling the truth, all he can do is stand in place before the ghost tosses him out of a window.
    • Ignoring the extended cut, Erin has a trauma reaction to a man dying in front of her when Rowan commits suicide, unlike her teammates. Martin Heiss was one thing, but Rowan is another. She takes a break from the Ghostbusters because it's one thing to disintegrate ghosts and another to have someone die, and in such a gruesome fashion.
    • The Mayor and his aide try their best to cover up the masquerade, reasoning that people aren't ready to learn that ghosts are real. That doesn't last by the end; news journalists are pointing out they saw New York swallowed by spirits with the police incapacitated so it seems to be an irresponsible government coverup.
  • Take That!:
    • The comments section to the ghost YouTube videos the characters upload is not too different from what the movie's own trailers received.
    • The mayor's assistant quickly advises the 'Busters that they're going to be "fake arrested" to uphold the whole "Ghostbusters are a sad fraud mugging for attention" narrative the Mayor wants pushed. The DHS guys twist the women's arms behind their backs and say "Stop Resisting" even though Abby and Erin are going along quietly.
    • "You spell science with a 'Y'!"
  • Taking You with Me: The giant Rowan grabs Abby as he's being sucked through the portal. This prompts Erin to go to her rescue.
  • Team Pet: Kevin fills this role for the Ghostbusters, as he is still employed by the end of the movie, and the team is somewhat protective of him. He also has the intelligence level one might expect from a pet. A pet rock, maybe.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The female Slimer looks exactly like the male except with lipstick and hair.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The iconic bridge from Ray Parker Jr.'s 1984 theme shows up in the remake soundtrack during the climactic ghost fight ("Battle of Times Square"), as Holtzmann grabs a pair of forgotten proton pistols and dual-wields her way through an entire ghost army. Apart from being awesome on general principle, it's also one of only two times any of the original musical themes show up in the remake soundtrack (the first is the intro, which plays over the mansion tour guide being terrified into ruining his pants courtesy of Gertrude Aldridge.)
  • Those Two Guys: The Homeland Security agents were about as useful throughout the whole movie as a paper mache umbrella in a thunderstorm even before things started hitting the fan, even the GB's lampshaded this snarking that their incompetence hides their lacking manliness.
    • the Mayor and his douchey assistant count as well. Given that their only real talent is suppressing everything and smearing the four heroines until it all reaches a fever pitch which was all but impossible to cover up.
  • Title Drop: Aside from the team taking on the name "Ghostbusters," Patty's uncle drops the film's early production codename ("Flapjack").
  • Token Minority: Patty is the only black person on the main cast.
    • This is a particularly groan-worthy as Patty parallels the original film's Winston. Both characters are the only Black Ghostbusters, and neither of them are parapsychology professors like their white counterparts.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Rowan possessing Kevin, which happens late in the movie, is shown prominently in several trailers. However, it's never mentioned specifically that the ghost is one character or another. At the time, it was just known that he got possessed.
  • Toilet Humour: Holtzmann also claims that the fart sound on the 'EVP' recording "came from the front." She could, of course, be referring to someone blowing a raspberry... or she could be referring to this.
  • True Companions: The Ghostbusters become this by the end of the movie. As they celebrate their victory, Jillian delivers a truly heartwarming toast, calling Erin, Abby and Patty her family.
  • Understatement: It is stated during the confrontation with the Big Bad that, once the portal to the Other Side is opened, the dead will return to 'pester' the living. Erin points out that this doesn't sound so bad. The Big Bad clarifies that this 'pestering' will take the form of torture, death and carnage. The Ghostbusters then remark that 'pester' is a poor choice of words for what he's describing, and 'apocalypse' would probably be a more fitting one.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The Aldridge Mansion tour guide gets himself trapped in a cellar, hanging from a collapsed staircase, above a slowly rising pool of slime, with a vengeful ghost who, in life, killed several people. The door is locked and, as he was the only person inside the building, there is no hope of rescue. Yet when he's next seen, he's completely unhurt, having only ruined his trousers.
  • Video Credits: Akin to the second movie, the main actors are accompanied by pictures of them alongside the credits.
  • Visual Pun: Holtzmann's necklace pendant is a rebus; "screw" + "you."
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Extended Edition adds one after Abby gets possessed while in the bathroom, causing her to puke up some slime.
  • Walking Spoiler: Rowan was omitted from trailers likely because of his importance as the Big Bad.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Ecto-1, which Patty first complains about receiving a paint job, and then when it's hijacked by Slimer in the climax, leading to its role in the final battle.
  • Weirdness Magnet: The ghost-channeling devices are literal Weirdness Electromagnets, placed on locations with paranormal-heavy properties to draw them in and amplify them.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Erin and Abby are at this point as the story begins. By the end of the film, they're friends again, working together as Ghostbusters after proving their theories correct.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: Despite openly admitting to his many faults, the Ghostbusters still demand that Rowan release Kevin.
  • Wham Line: The last line of The Stinger is Patty asking "What's Zuul?"
  • What a Piece of Junk: 2/3 of the Ghostbusters think the vehicle Patty got for the Ecto-1 is this. The exception is Holtzmann (because there might be a dead body in it, and how useful are those?!).
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Inverted on the film's version of the "Ghostbusters" theme by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott, as Missy does almost all the vocals and Patrick Stump just sings a few lines in the choruses.
  • Who's on First?: Kevin's dog is named "Mike Hat"; the ladies think he's talking about "my cat".
  • Women Are Wiser: While the main characters are all scientists and/or knowledgeable in history, every single male character is either a coward, an asshole, or stupid.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Rowan, being a intelligent person who's been bullied and demeaned all his life, thus decides to unleash a tidal wave of ghostly fury upon the world. If his dialogue can be believed, a lot of his ghostly allies count as well.
  • The World Is Not Ready: Why the mayor and government are trying to cover up the NYC events, and apparently previous ones as well, because he thinks that humans at large are at stupid and literally cannot handle the information without panicking.
  • World-Healing Wave: The Ghostbusters final plan to save the day results in the portal opened by Rowan sucking all ghosts, including him, back to the other side—and restoring the city back to rights for the most part.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: In the real world where there is no scientific evidence for ghosts, Martin Heiss would have been completely correct to be skeptical of the Ghostbusters. In the film's universe, where there is a history of paranormal incidents his demanding the team show him a ghost leads to him getting knocked out a window to his death.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: The Ghostbusters try this on Rowan. They tell him they know exactly how he feels about the world not treating you well. Abby tells him that while people can suck, the little things that bring them joy, like "soup," aren't. It doesn't work, though Rowan gives them Villain Respect for being the only people to show empathy.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Subverted; the Ghostbusters actually manage to catch Rowan before he finishes his apocalyptic machine, and he electrocutes himself to avoid capture. Then double-subverted, as this was all part of his plan, including the suicide.
  • Your Mom: During their initial confrontation, Abby makes a crack about Erin's mom before sheepishly walking it back by admitting that she always actually liked Erin's mom.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ghostbusters Answer The Call


Ghosts Getting Holtzmanned

Holtzmann breaks in her new toys.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GunsAkimbo

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