Look­ing for a good ghost story?

Here are 10 cin­e­matic vi­sions of the af­ter­life

The Hamilton Spectator - - A&E - BRIAN TRUITT

We may not know about the ac­tual af­ter­life un­til we’re six feet un­der, but movies en­joy var­i­ous flights of fan­tasy to en­vi­sion what it could be like.

The lat­est is “A Ghost Story” with Casey Affleck as a dead mu­si­cian haunt­ing his house as his love (Rooney Mara) and ex­is­tence on the whole move on with­out him.

How does that com­pare with other cin­e­matic glimpses of what’s next? Here’s a de­fin­i­tive rank­ing from worst to best of ways to spend the here­after:

10. Flat­lin­ers (1990)

Med­i­cal stu­dents com­pete to see who can stay dead the long­est while ex­plor­ing mys­ter­ies of the af­ter­life. But what they find is peo­ple they’ve vic­tim­ized (or have vic­tim­ized them) and, when they come back, their sins are brought with them. Hard pass.

9. A Ghost Story (2017)

As a movie, it’s in­fin­itely ex­cel­lent. As a place to spend in­fin­ity? Meh, not that great. Affleck can only watch as time passes by and strangers come in and out of his old house. With a bed­sheet thrown over him, no less. It’s cool for peo­ple watch­ers but that’s about it.

8. The Sixth Sense (1999)

There’s a dis­tinct joy in ig­no­rance that’s in­her­ent in M. Night Shya­malan’s break­out, where Bruce Wil­lis goes the en­tire movie be­fore fig­ur­ing out he’s been dead the whole time. It’d be more help­ful to know you can only com­mu­ni­cate with kids right from the start.

7. Beetle­juice (1988)

When the Mait­lands (Alec Bald­win and Geena Davis) die in the hor­ror com­edy, they find the af­ter­life to be a worse ver­sion of a DMV: Ev­ery­body’s forced to wait in long lines to be helped, and the weirdo who’s the ti­tle “bio-ex­or­cist” (Michael Keaton) is a com­plete pain.

6. Heaven Can Wait (1978)

A quar­ter­back (War­ren Beatty) gets shuf­fled off his mor­tal coil too early by his guardian angel. Limbo is shown as a re­ally foggy, ethe­real place, but the big­ger prob­lem is an­gels get­ting trig­ger-happy with the death but­ton. If you can’t trust those guys ...

5. The Lovely Bones (2009)

A teenage girl (Saoirse Ro­nan) is killed and she as­cends to an “in between” place, where she watches her mur­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion un­fold. She finds her­self sur­rounded by sur­re­al­is­tic beauty that’s lovely to be­hold, though even that gets fright­ful.

4. What Dreams May Come (1998)

The weepy fan­tasy takes Robin Wil­liams’ late pe­di­a­tri­cian Chris to a won­drous world that he can cre­ate, com­plete with cute dog and hu­man pal (Cuba Good­ing Jr.). Chris has to go to hell to help his wife, so that’s not great, but the heav­enly part is pretty rad.

3. Ghost (1990)

The Pa­trick Swayze fan­tasy thriller that finds his Man­hat­tan­ite killed by a mug­ger but able to stick around to help his girl­friend (Demi Moore). Ideal for those who want one last sen­sual pot­tery-mak­ing ses­sion af­ter los­ing their part­ner.

2. De­fend­ing Your Life (1991)

Al­bert Brooks is an advertising man who dies and winds up in Judg­ment City, where peo­ple are tried to find out if they can move on. The place isn’t that bad: Clothes are min­i­mal­ist white, but you can play minigolf, eat sushi and even date Meryl Streep.

1. Field of Dreams (1989)

“Is this heaven?” “It’s Iowa.” Well, it’s kind of heaven, too, when Kevin Cost­ner builds a base­ball field in his corn­field and has one last catch with the ghost of his fa­ther. Be­ing able to play ball with de­ceased Ma­jor Lea­guers and loved ones from your past? Sounds like a home run.

BRET CURRY, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Rooney Mara in a scene from “A Ghost Story,” also star­ring Casey Affleck.

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Mark Wahlberg and Saoirse Ro­nan in “The Lovely Bones.”

CHAR­LIE NEIBERGALL, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ghost play­ers emerge from the corn­field at the “Field of Dreams.”

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