Certificate: 12A

Running time: 116 mins

Star rating: 3/5

IF there's something strange in your neighbourhood, who ya gonna call? Filmmaker Paul Feig.

The hugely successful director of Bridesmaid, The Heat and Spy applies a gender reversal to an effervescent remake of the 1984 supernatural comedy about a quartet of parapsychologists, who make a living capturing spooks in New York City. Nostalgia oozes like ectoplasm from every glossy frame of this special effects-laden Ghostbusters, including cameos for most of the original cast and repeated bursts of Ray Parker Jnr's infectious theme song. There are few jumps in a script co-written by Feig and Kate Dippold that awkwardly marries spectral scares with twisted humour. The monstrous Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and greedy green ghoul Slimer play their part too.

Actress Melissa McCarthy is in fine fettle, effusively trading quips with co-stars including a scene-stealing Chris Hemsworth as the team's hunky male receptionist, Kevin.

Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) hopes to secure tenure at Columbia University, but her academic future is thrown into disarray when childhood friend Abby Yates (McCarthy) peddles copies of their long forgotten 400-page tome, Ghosts From The Past: Both Literally & Figuratively. The two women are reunited in the lab where Erin conducts experiments with her madcap protegee, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon).

A haunting at Aldridge Mansion gives the trio their first glimpse of the fight ahead, and soon after, ballsy subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) joins the team, blessed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Manhattan's grim history. It transpires that a demented misfit called Rowan North (Neil Casey) is summoning ghosts to create a vortex between the living and the dead.

Armed with prototype backpacks, the gang gallantly races into the fray, risking ridicule from the media and Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia).

Ghostbusters affectionately harks back to the series' glory days before the creative misstep of the 1989 sequel. McCarthy and Wiig rekindle their Bridemaids on-screen chemistry, with colourful turns from McKinnon and Jones, and merciless self-mockery from Hemsworth. The script papers over gaping holes with spectacular action sequences and pop culture references.