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Film Review: Haunted Mansion

Written by on August 23, 2023

Film Review: Haunted Mansion


I’ve decided to write a short review on Haunted Mansion.

The film centres around a single mom and her son who hire a tourist guide and a priest to exorcise an evil ghost Hatbox, who is terrorising the 999 other resident ghosts who also inhabit their new home. A classic battle of good versus evil ensues, carried out by four completely unique characters who work together to help banish Hatbox (played by Jared Leto).

The film is directed by emerging Sundance Festival Award winner Justin Simien. It is woven together by grief. For Travis (portrayed by Chase Dillon) it is in relation to his father, while Ben (the tourist guide, played by LaKeith Stansfield), is grieving for his wife and Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) is trying to come to terms with losing a husband by starting a new chapter of her life in their new home. Even the ghost are grieving for their loss of freedom and happiness.

The film reminded me of a cross between Ghost and Ghostbusters. Ben carrying his camera which can capture ghostly photographs had similarities to the scientist Egon Spengler in the original Ghostbuster movie, while Harriet the psychic brought back memories of Whoopie Goldberg. A cameo from Danny Devito added an extra dimension to the film, wandering around in his underpants battling against the ghosts.

If you are familiar with the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland then you will recognise the set, as it captures a number of elements of the actual ride. The film was fast paced which kept my attention throughout. However I was not particularly captivated by any of the characters. Even a high-end cast could not save a poorly scripted film which tried and failed to mix horror, love and comedy.

Sadly, the film was not at all frightening, the Hatbox character did not fill me with fear. Also, there were just a few laughs – spread pretty thinly over the duration. Even the love element was very watered down. The end of the film remained true to the Disney ethos of capturing positive traits of love and happiness for all as good overcomes evil. I would not deter anyone from watching the film, it just did not particularly win me over. I left the cinema on a positive note with the feeling that there is hope for those lost in grief and that adversity can be overcome.

In conclusion, Haunted Mansion is probably worth seeing if you have some spare time on your hands.


Reviewer: Paul Powell

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