Haunted Mansion Review

Haunted Mansion
Haunted Mansion
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Disney’s return to making a movie out of its much-loved Haunted Mansion attraction is much more successful than the previous one featuring Eddie Murphy. The 2023 Haunted Mansion by Katie Dippold and Justin Simien presents a soulful ghost story about New Orleans that speaks to young people about death, grief, and the afterlife with mastery. In her screenplay, Dippold discovers a soft core without neglecting the horror aspirations of this PG-13 spookshow. This gives Haunted Mansion an emotional sweetness and just scary enough alienating scares blended in Disneyfication of genre tropes, making it almost the whole family fun filled horror film.

The 999 spirits who take on Gabbie (Rosario Dawson), a single mother in an exotic residence in Louisiana as seen through the eyes of LaKeith Stanfield playing Ben Mathias, her tour guide. They realize that their new home is haunted as Gabbie and Travis, her ostracized son attempt to run away from it – who wouldn’t? Dippold accepts how absurd it would be to live under the same roof with unpredictable beings thus creating characters that do not necessarily want to be Ghostbusters. However, they have no choice since through this there is set up quite cleverly logical reason which prevents everyone from running off at full tilt. Danny DeVito’s Bruce who’s an eccentric college professor Owen Wilson’s Father Kent who appears to be too cool for school Tiffany Haddish plays Harriet who turns out to be one heck of a bargain-basement medium. It seems that each person on set had fun with this comedy which produces an ensemble cast that playfully interacts with each other while responding naturally to bizarre events.

Haunted Mansion as a film handles conversations regarding peaceful or even jovial existence after death; hence doing more than justice in alleviating sad realizations about human mortality. Even for kids, demise can be a terrifying concept; however, Haunted Mansion handles existential angst and deep sorrow just like any other showstopper like Coco. In storytelling where arguments are really not jammed down your throat, Dippold utilizes the shattered heart of Ben as an avenue to delve into topics that blur what we have always known as “life” and “death.” The themes in Haunted Mansion comforted me similar to my stomach being warmed by spicy and savory jambalaya.

Haunted Mansion is surprising even scarier than I thought it would be given that it’s based on a family ride at an amusement park. Frightening if compared to initial thoughts which were padded content for kids who loved Disney movies but couldn’t watch Saturday the 14th or parodies of it. It isn’t any Conjuring or Poltergeist, but one particular scene when a wife killer walks with her axe across the couple’s bedroom before vanishing in-between beams of torchlight—a shot that defines the PG-13 rating this film got. Simien directs Ben’s paranormal camera as though he’s playing Fatal Frame series level – admittedly Haunted Mansion takes gateway-horror duties quite seriously.

Simien’s film brings to life the namesake attraction with excitement, as anything from dancing in dining rooms to elongated entrance walls is transmuted on screen. Such modern critiques of dull computer graphics used extensively in movies are averted thanks to visual effects by DNEG and Industrial Light & Magic that included lively pinkish-greenish ghost realms and Aquafresh-blue ghosties like Hatbox Ghost (Jared Leto). Dippold taps into Haunted Mansion mythology to produce a threatening uber-spirit with cackling malice and textbook evil depicted through an unrecognizable Jared Leto.

The length at just over two hours allows for some less successful jokes – those which fall victim to the occasional indulgence that is inevitable when Disney tells a horror story. Chase Dillon has been great at playing Travis, who is afraid of his own shadow, but by dramatical standards his fatherless character’s interactions with Ben as parental substitute are pretty ordinary. Throughout Haunted Mansion there are corridors of mediocrity such as Jamie Lee Curtis’ disembodied head trapped digitally inside a crystal ball, which is alright at best or settings outside Gabbie’s haunted property that aren’t very compelling at all. While offering plenty of Easter eggs for longtime Doom Buggy riders, supremely naughty imagery and good instincts about what makes a fun haunted-house movie, this means viewers can stay put inside the mansion for long spans of time—until it feels too short for reasons during some stretches.


DOA was the initial attempt to spin off The Haunted Mansion into a movie, however Justin Simien reinvigorates it. This gateway horror can be very tricky since it aims to cater to audiences of all ages while scaring them within their lower thresholds. That’s exactly what Haunted Mansion does: not only do its characters battle their existential demons but they also have grim grinning roommates. Nonetheless, don’t worry because it’s still a fun romp that makes for maximum movie-going entertainment – the boldness of the storytelling and creepiness of haunted New Orleans architecture are welcome bonuses.

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