The Haunted Mansion (2003)

Part 9 of my 13 Ghost Movies of Halloween!

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  • Directed by Rob Minkoff
  • Starring Eddie Murphy, Marsha Thomason, Nathanial Parker
  • Written by David Berenbaum
  • Comedy, Family
  • Rated PG
  • 1hr 28min
  • 26 November 2003

Synopsis

A real-estate agent and his family go to view a mansion someone wants to put on the market and get rained in and have to stay the night. They learn of the tragic history of the mansion just before things start to get a little creepy…

How’s the Story?

Based off the Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World, this movie has a really solid story, in my opinion. I was shocked to discover that this one is so widely hated, because I like the story! Long ago, the master of the manor planned to run away with the woman he loved the night of a masquerade ball but instead, she took her life. After losing her, he took his own and, in doing so, cursed all the staff and guests to walk the earth as ghosts until the day he and his beloved should be reunited.

What a compelling backstory. I honestly find it heart-wrenching and the end of the movie (no spoilers) makes me tear up every time. The story is about a family becoming closer through the adventure in a haunted mansion with a haunting that’s based on a tragic event, and it’s just a really fun story.

How’s the Acting?

It’s okay. There’s nothing to write home about, but nothing is terrible. I like most of the actors in it, as cheesy and over the top as the characters are, and that’s a good thing! It’s a kids movie, not an Oscar contender.

How’s the Writing/Directing?

The same as the acting, it’s good enough. Nothing special but nothing bad. It’s a fun movie told in interesting enough ways. It’s moving enough to make me tear up, so that means it’s not the worst written or directed movie, and has to be at least pretty good to get that much of a reaction.

How’s the Cinematography?

While the CGI is dated, this movie has some really cool practical effects. The thing with the door is always terrifying. I also really love the way the camera moves in this one. It makes it feel like a ride at times, which is obviously an appeal to the Disney World lovers out there.

Is It Worth Watching?

Definitely worth watching. It’s fun, funny, moving, and pretty much a Halloween staple in my house. We own the DVD and it gets watched in July half the time, when we’re all Jonesing for that sweet Halloween vibe. It’s not the best movie ever, it’s not the most important movie ever, but it’s a hell of an entertaining movie, and after all, isn’t that what film is about?

My Rating: 7/10

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About J. Chelsea Williford

Movie addict, reader, writer, pop culture lover.
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