Haunted Mansion review: A spooky adventure that fails to thrill

Haunted Mansion, in cinemas July 28, 2023.
Haunted Mansion, in cinemas July 28, 2023. /

Step right up, thrill-seekers, as we venture into the eerie world of Haunted Mansion, Disney’s latest supernatural horror comedy film! Inspired by its famous theme-park attraction, the movie promises a spine-chilling experience filled with laughter and fright. But does it deliver on its spooky promises? Let’s find out!

The ghostly ride begins…

As the creaking gates of the Haunted Mansion swing open, we are introduced to Gabbie (played by the brilliant Rosario Dawson) and young Travis (a standout performance by Chase W. Dillon), who has the unfortunate task of living in a haunted mansion.

Eager to exorcise the ghosts that linger in their home, they assemble an eccentric team of experts, led by the charismatic LaKeith Stanfield, the hilarious Tiffany Haddish, the charming Owen Wilson and the ever-lovable Danny DeVito. With such a talented ensemble cast, you’d hope for a delightful thrill ride.

A missed opportunity

Despite the star-studded lineup and the potential for a spine-tingling experience, Haunted Mansion unfortunately falls short of being a scream-worthy success.

Director Justin Simien, known for his sharp wit and incisive storytelling in “Dear White People” seems restrained by the film’s commercial interests.

While the cast does their best to bring life to the characters, the screenplay by Katie Dippold lacks the depth needed to make us truly care about their plight. As a result, the film feels like a missed opportunity to create something truly memorable.

Haunted Mansion review: A spooky adventure that fails to thrill
Haunted Mansion, in cinemas July 28, 2023. /

Fun, but not hauntingly memorable

Haunted Mansion does have its moments of laughter and enjoyment, mostly thanks to the efforts of the talented cast.

LaKeith Stanfield’s charisma shines through and Tiffany Haddish adds her trademark humor, keeping us engaged throughout the film. Owen Wilson and Danny DeVito bring their unique charm to the mix and Rosario Dawson delivers a heartfelt performance.

However, these commendable performances can only do so much to compensate for the film’s lackluster storyline.

More theme park promotion than frightful tale

The film’s main downfall lies in its overt focus on being a marketing tool for Disney’s theme-park attraction.

Instead of fully exploring the potential for horror and comedy, Haunted Mansion leans heavily on the attraction’s iconography and familiar elements, at the expense of crafting a captivating narrative.

It often feels like a feature-length commercial rather than an immersive cinematic experience.

Haunted Mansion: Final verdict

In the end, Haunted Mansion offers a mix of chuckles and eerie moments, but it fails to live up to its promising premise.

While the cast’s performances add some spark to the film, the lack of a gripping plot and an over-reliance on theme-park promotion leave audiences yearning for a more memorable ghostly adventure.

So, if you’re in the mood for a light-hearted romp with some spooky elements, Haunted Mansion might tickle your funny bone. However, if you’re seeking a truly haunting and unforgettable cinematic experience, you might want to set your sights on other horror offerings.

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