I know there have been complaints about how often Disney has started churning out reboots or live-action versions of their most beloved animated features.
So, with that in mind, you would think that fans would have been thrilled with Haunted Manion, a brand-new movie released in 2023.
If the box office takings are anything to go by, then the movie was a bit of a flop. Grossing just over $117 million, it didn't even make back its production around the $150 million mark.
But does that mean that Haunted Mansion is a bad film? Nope! As fun, spooky family flicks go, this was a decent effort. Not perfect, but worth a trip to the cinema and certainly worth a watch if you subscribe to Disney+.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. If you don't know what the movie is about, let me give you a quick re-cap.
What Is Haunted Mansion About?
The premise is simple. The Haunted Mansion is a ride at Disneyland, and so the powers that be decided to make a whole film telling the story of that ride, and it goes like this…
Ben Matthias (LaKeith Stanfield) is an astrophysicist who develops a camera to detect ghosts. After his wife, Alyssa, dies in a car crash, he gives up his career and ends up quite lonely and depressed.
Years later, Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis (Chase W. Dillon) move into Gracey Manor only to learn that various ghosts haunt it.
Not knowing what else they can do, they enlist the help of an exorcist, Father Kent (Owen Wilson), who then persuades Ben to come to the manor and photograph the ghosts.
However, they don't know that if they enter the house and leave, they too, become haunted. So then they recruit Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), a psychic, along with Prof. Bruce Davis. (Danny DeVito), who is familiar with the house, and the group tries to ride the manor of the ghosts.
And it all starts when they find a hidden séance room. From there, they manage to contact the spirit of Gracey, the original owner of the manor.
Once they learn all about why the house is haunted, they figure out how to fix the problem once and for all.
The Haunted Mansion Official Trailer
Is The Haunted Mansion Worth Watching?
I'm going to start off by saying that while this isn't the greatest movie I've ever seen, it is by no means the worst.
The Haunted Mansion cast is packed with A-listers and cameos. With so many comedic talents, such as Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, and Owen Wilson, in the mix, I would have expected it to be funnier.
That said, you can only work with what you've got, so some blame has to go to the scriptwriters for not hitting the jokes out of the park. Or maybe Walt Disney Pictures dampened it down for family audiences. Who knows!
Either way, the same critique applies to the ‘scary' side of the film, where there are plenty of little jumps but nothing to really make kids hop out of their seats. And isn't that half the fun of a kid's spooky movie?
The special effects are really cool, the overall aesthetic is top-notch, and even though the storyline is a bit one-dimensional, I do appreciate that anything more taxing would have put kids off from wanting to see it.
So if it's a half-decent film, why didn't it do better in the cinema? Honestly, I think its fate was sealed when it crashed headlong into Barbenheimer in the Summer of 2023.
It was released a week after Barbie and Oppenheimer and never really stood a chance. If Walt Disney Studios had held off until October, in time for Halloween, it would have had a much better reception.
Instead, you can now watch it on Disney+.
Cast Of The Haunted Mansion Movie
LaKeith Stanfield (The Changeling) as Ben Matthias, an astrophysicist turned tour guide
Rosario Dawson as Gabbie who moves to into Gracey Manor with her son to open a bed and breakfast
Owen Wilson as Father Kent, a priest and trained exorcist
Tiffany Haddish (The Kitchen) as Harriet, a psychic
Danny DeVito as Bruce Davis, a college historian
Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota, the psychic reduced to a head in a glass ball
Chase W. Dillon as Travis, Gabbie's son
Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost
J. R. Adduci as William Gracey, the last owner of the house
Jo Koy as a daytime bartender
Marilu Henner as Carol, a tourist in New Orleans
Winona Ryder as Pat, a New Orleans tour guide
Hasan Minhaj as a police sketch artist
Dan Levy as Vic, an entertainment tour guide
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