Haunted Mansion

July 28, 202360/1006 min
Starring
Rosario Dawson, Jamile Lee Curtis, Winona Ryder, Danny DeVito
Written by
Katie Dippold
Directed by
Justin Sirrien
Run Time
2h 2min
Release Date
July 28th, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

           In its continuing quest to remake its entire catalog of previous films with a modern perspective, Disney has also sparked some outrage in the process. It seems there is a portion of the generation that grew up on these classic stories that are not at all too happy with, what they consider the replacing or worse, erasing of their childhood by the studio system. I have never been on that boat, because those movie still exist and it is ok to me if the new one isn’t made for me. One movie though I didn’t hear any uprise on was the remake of 2003’s  The Haunted Mansion, starring Eddie Murphy, a movie not well received. Well, Disney is back for another bite at that apple, and I can tell you this, 2023’s Haunted Mansion should fare a lot better than its predecessor.

Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) is excited for her new life in New Orleans, as she has bought a mansion, so that her and her son Travis (Chase Dillon) can turn it into a bed & breakfast. Once they arrive at the house they find out quickly they are not alone as the house is haunted by quite a few ghosts. While you would think just leaving would solve their haunting problem, it turns out the ghosts follow you, forcing you to return back to the house. Gabbie seeks help to “make the house clean” and with the help of Father Kent (Owen Wilson) seek out other experts. That search leads to Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), who learns rather quickly that he is stuck in that house with Gabbie, her son, and Father Kent, as they all try and figure out what to do next. That next step is enlisting a medium name Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), who starts to piece together what happened at that house. It turns out the past is the key to getting their freedom, but there is one ghost who is going to make that very difficult to achieve.

Written from Katie Dippold, Haunted Mansion weaves an engrossing story about grief and death, all while managing to keep it enjoyable and entertaining for all ages. Writing a story based on a ride doesn’t sound like it would work, unless you have pirates in it, but in this case the ride really just is more of a backstory, as she focuses on one character to build her story around. Fans of the ride will see plenty of Easter Eggs and homage to the fan favorite ride, but for people like me, who know nothing, knowledge of the ride is not required.

I had a good time with Haunted Mansion, as I often got The Frighteners vibes from its specters, but the ghosts were just the icing on the cake. The real reason why Haunted Mansion is a “ fun for all ages”, kind of film, is because of the cast, who just seem perfectly cast. Stanfield is the highlight here, but each of the cast brings exactly what is needed, including Danny DeVito and Jamie Lee Curtis in smaller roles. When you add the impressive production design, as it immerses you in the environment that is the mansion. Even though I do wish at times they had lightened the movie up at some parts, as it can get pretty dark. With that said, the lighting issues are not enough to take away from this fun family film, that offers some good ghost horror, as well as a story for the heart. So step in to the Haunted Mansion and strap in for a ride filled with ghosts, humor, and an overall fun ride.

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