Move over Eddie Murphy, it’s the next generation’s turn to visit the latest Disney-ride-turned-movie-franchise!
Welcome foolish mortals…
Haunted Mansion (2023)
Cast and Crew
Directed: Justin Simien
Writing Credits: Katie Dippold
LaKeith Stanfield as Ben Matthias
Rosario Dawson as Gabbie
Owen Wilson as Father Kent
Tiffany Haddish as Harriet
Danny DeVito as Bruce Davis
Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota
Chase Dillon as Travis
Jared Leto as Crump
J.R. Adduci as William Gracey
Creek Wilson as Mariner Ghost
Ben Bladon as Hatchet Ghost
Lindsay Lamb as The Bride
Charity Jordan as Alyssa
Fedor Steer as Ezra
Terence Rosemore as Phineas
Mike Benitez as Gus
Erika Coleman as Eleanor Gracey
Christopher Winchester as New Year’s Eve Bartender
A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest and a historian to help exorcise her newly bought mansion after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts. (From IMDB)
The biggest complaint of most horror movies are that those inside should leave and never come back. Haunted Mansion starts with rationality and reason to assemble the cast, and starts off with attempts to deal with what they can prove. It is not the scary movie tropes of running upstairs instead of outside.
The film seems to jump around a bit and is heavy with expositional stories in order to tell rather than show. Many elements from the ride appear, but they are shoehorned in forcefully enough pull you out of the story.
Effects: 4/6 This is an era of big-budget effects. Even with Disney’s budget, the effects are clear, but there are too many crammed into each scene.
Acting: 5/6 While the story may be contrived, its saving grace1 is that everyone involved is convincing and excellent at their task.
Emotional Response: 5/6 The movie can even draw on the heartstrings of the unwilling. The believably of the characters save the movie from its lack of originality.
Story: 4/6 Suspending disbelieving to enjoy a horror movie can be a challenge for the scientifically minded. This movie takes that into account to set the scene. While it doesn’t exactly become believable, it does an excellent job of taking a very hokey premise and setting everyone in the right place. Once they are in place, unfortunately, it becomes a boilerplate story to defeat the villain, with all of the expected tropes.
Production: 5/6 This is a formula that is been tested and refined, which most likely accounts for not being able to deviate far enough to risk being original.
Overall: 4/6 This has the potential to be a good family movie, though adults aren’t as likely to rewatch it when they would have access to less family friendly fare.2
In total, Haunted Mansion (2023) receive 28/42.
Weekend of Oct. 21/22: Last Night in Soho (2021)
Weekend of Oct. 28/29: Anime Explorations: Vampire Hunter D (1985)
1Or should I say “Saving Gracey”?
2Or just enjoy some other adaptations.