‘We Have A Ghost’ Major Characters, Explained – Who Is Ernest?

Horror comedies have graced our screens time and again. These serve as the perfect serving for those who are easily scared but still want to indulge in some lighthearted spooky drama. We have had movies like “Casper” from Hollywood and “Bhoothnath” from Bollywood that depict friendly and eccentric ghosts. These movies are horror comedies, but the jump scares are minimal, and one can easily tell that the ghosts are harmless. In addition to the ghosts, the humans dealing with them are no less comical. In Netflix’s latest horror comedy, “We Have a Ghost,” the viewers come across a seemingly harmless ghost named Ernest who lives in the house now owned by the Presley family.


“We Have a Ghost” tells the story of how the family’s youngest son Kevin teams up with his neighbor (and crush) Joy to free Ernest from the mortal realm. But no average Hollywood movie is complete without FBI or CBI words thrown around, and in “We Have a Ghost,” we have a whole troop going after a ghost and, subsequently, the Presley family. What started as a simple story of a ghost in an attic snowballed into a nationwide phenomenon and spiraled into a global phenomenon. That’s a fair bit about the movie; now let’s take a look at the characters who play pivotal roles in moving the story forward.

Spoilers Ahead


Jahi Winston As Kevin Presley

Kevin is the younger son of Frank and Melanie Presley. He is a high school boy who has his own interests and lives in his own world. Like most teenage child-parent relationships, he is not very forthcoming with his parents. He likes to keep things to himself but warms up to Ernest, the ghost living in the attic. He is a soft-spoken boy and mature for his age. He is not happy with his father’s way of living, and he is not shy about showing his true feelings. Despite keeping things to himself, when it comes to making a change, he does not back down from speaking the truth.

David Harbour As Ernest

Ernest is a mute and friendly ghost living in the Presley house. He is a seemingly harmless, shy, and innocent fellow. He does not remember his past life, but with Kevin’s help, he learns about how he died. Harbour, who is famously known for “Stranger Things,” showed a different side to his acting with his role as Ernest. Despite being a ghost, Ernest is understanding of humans and is not filled with anger regarding his death. He is a peaceful spectral creature who reminds one of the friendly ghost Casper.


Niles Fitch As Fulton Presley

The elder one of the Presley siblings, Fulton, is like any other older brother. He is cocky and lives in a world where being “cool,” updated on the internet, and chasing girls is considered the best. He does not care much about the world, much less his family. He is a prankster and makes the most of any opportunity to annoy Kevin. There’s not much development with Fulton’s character as “We Have a Ghost” progresses, but he does warm up to his parents and heads off to college. He has not let go of his partying lifestyle but has begun to understand he should bear a little responsibility.

Melanie And Frank Presley As Erica Ash And Anthony Mackie

The Presley parents are trying their best to provide for their children. Frank has had a string of failed businesses, which has led his family to move bases ever so frequently. He realizes that his plans might not work in the best interests of his family, and he does apologize to them for it. When Ernest’s video blows up on the internet, he sees it as an opportunity to make quick money and get his family out of a financial crisis. But he did not think it through and had to face the dire consequences. Melanie, on the other hand, is trying her best to support her husband in his ventures. Despite Frank’s repeated failures, Melanie works hard to keep the family together. She is the voice of reason in the Presley family. She is a loving and strict mother to her children. She is quick to adapt to the changes happening around her. Melanie and Frank are mostly stock characters without much development happening to them. They are the picture of regular parents who try to gel with their high-school-going children while managing to keep the family afloat.


Isabella Russo As Joy Yoshino

Joy Yoshino is Kevin’s neighbor. She is a Japanese-American girl who is unafraid to break the rules. She looks like she is unattached to things and does not care for others, but deep down, she truly does. She is quirky, eccentric, and quite a rebel in her own right. Kevin and Joy become good friends while helping Ernest out, and eventually they start to date as well. Joy is the type of character who serves as great comic relief between stressful scenes, who has a solution for almost everything, and who won’t back down once she has your back.

Tig Notaro As Dr. Leslie Monroe

Dr. Leslie Monroe played a small yet significant role. Dr. Monroe used to work with the government to chart the supernatural happenings, but the project was wound down once it did not provide significant results. But she did not let go of her quest to prove her theory. Ernest’s appearance is her golden ticket to achieve her goal, and she is blindsided by greed momentarily. When the FBI officials begin to abuse their power, it works like a wakeup call for her. We see that she learns to let go of her obsession and chooses to do the morally right thing.


Steve Coulter As Deputy Chief Arnold Schipley

The FBI deputy chief Schipley is a power-hungry fellow. When he learns of Ernest initially, he brushes it off since it would not bring him anything useful. But when Dr. Monroe’s work begins to show promise, he is immediately taken in by greed and abuses his power as well. Since there are no laws that govern the ghosts, Schipley sees it as an opportunity to do what he wills, keeping the moral judgment aside. Schipley is a good example of people in power who would turn sides as soon as something juicy and lucrative fell into their laps. His character did not see any development, but it only showed the lengths to which he can stoop just to get his way with things.

In “We Have a Ghost,” we see that the characters are pretty much stock characters, but as the story progresses, each character transforms into a morally strong individual. As they navigate the ups and downs as a family, the Presley family learns to communicate more with each other. The children begin to openly talk with their parents, and the overall environment in the house enlivens as they sort through the unresolved matters. The family understands each other’s struggles and promises to see them through together. In the end, “We Have a Ghost” sends out a message that there are things beyond the materialistic world that matter the most in the end. The relationships one has in family serve greater purpose to come out of any sticky situation.


See more: ‘We Have A Ghost’ Ending, Explained: Did Randy Finally Cross Over?

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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
Nandini has grown up on a healthy diet of books, movies and shows. Hailing from a multicultural background, Nandini has tried indulging in art from different corners of India that came naturally to her. Taking the influence further, she delved into foreign languages and indulged in content from across the globe. When she is not watching anything on her laptop, she can be found daydreaming or picking her pen to write a few words of fiction.

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