Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Eddie Murphy & The Haunted Mansion

With Disney's remake about to hit theaters, we take a look back at the original film based of the Disney Park ride. The Haunted Mansion offers us Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason as realtors Jim and Sara Evers, who, along with their two children (Aree Davis and Marc John Jefferies), take a detour before their weekend away to examine an old mansion only to become trapped inside by an evil ghost butler (Terence Stamp) who has noticed the resemblance between Mrs. Evers and his master's former bride (also played by Thomason).

The Haunted Mansion is a perfectly fine family film with Murphy's charisma helping hide some of the more awkward aspect of the story and a fun host of ghosts who include Wallace Shawn, Dina Spybey-Waters, and Jennifer Tilly (although the inconsistency of when the ghosts are ghostly and when corporeal doesn't make much sense). The house itself adds another interesting character to the proceedings and the film's special effects hold up 20 years after its release.

Nathaniel Parker as the house's owner, and the film's red herring in an overly-complicated plot for the existence of the haunted house, is the weakest aspect of the movie. Not all that scary, but still a fun macabre adventure for kids, the film also has some nice messages for younger audiences with Jim learning a lesson about putting work before his family and young Michael learning to overcome his fears. We're also given a number of goofy action sequences such as the Evers attempting to find a key in a crypt on the mansion's grounds and the race to prevent Sara from becoming a ghostly bride. The Haunted Mansion brings multiple aspects of the ride directly into the movie from the changing paintings to the séance to the hearse crashing out of the mansion. It's goofy and stylish fun that doesn't necessarily stick with you, but it will hold your interest for the most part throughout its short 88 minute run-time.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: The Haunted Mansion (2003)
  • IMDb: link

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