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Overall Rating

Awesome: 16.33%
Worth A Look: 22.45%
Average: 8.16%
Pretty Bad: 24.49%
Total Crap28.57%

3 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Haunted Mansion, The
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by EricDSnider

"Somehow, it failed to suck!"
4 stars

When Disney announced it would create films based on its theme park attractions, all sentient beings in the universe thought: Uh-oh. This is gonna suck.

The moronic "Country Bears" (2002) did nothing to allay our fears, but then the world was pleasantly surprised by "Pirates of the Caribbean" (2003), which was a fine swashbuckling adventure -- though, I hasten to add, one with little connection to the ride it was allegedly based on.

Now comes "The Haunted Mansion," which sticks close to its source material (dangerous idea) and which stars former celebrity Eddie Murphy (dangerous idea). But in the hands of talented director Rob Minkoff ("Stuart Little," "The Lion King") and new writer David Berenbaum ("Elf"), we get to be pleasantly surprised again. It starts slow, but once it gets going, it's a healthy dose of good, spooky family fun.

Murphy stars as Jim Evers, a real estate agent who, like most working fathers in movies, especially those played by Eddie Murphy, works too hard and neglects his family. His wife and business partner, Sara (Marsha Thomason), convinces him to take a weekend off with the kids, Megan (Aree Davis) and Michael (Marc John Jefferies), but he insists they stop for "20 minutes at the most" at a potential client's house.

The client is Gracey (Nathaniel Parker), and the listing is a dilapidated old mansion on the Louisiana bayou that has been in his family for generations. He wants a fresh start elsewhere, he says; too many memories ("ghosts," one might say) in the place. But before the Everses can leave, Gracey's ghastly butler Ramsley (Terence Stamp) announces that the rainstorm has made the roads impassable; they will have to stay the night.

From there it's a series of frights and set pieces as the family learns the history of the mansion and what they must do to lift its curse. The film deftly walks the line between funny and scary, never becoming so much of one that the audience can't also feel the other. In the category of funny, Jim and the kids encounter a quartet of busts that start out singing barbershop tunes but that soon begin turning whatever Jim says into a song. Shortly thereafter, we have the film's scariest sequence, set in a mausoleum full of living skeletons, in pursuit of Jim and Megan.

Kids will probably find most of it scary in a fun way, but you know your kids better than I do. (I haven't even met your kids.) Be advised that a few moments are fairly intense, even if they are lightened by the cast's wise-cracking and the film's general sense of amusement-park giddiness.

In all, it's neither as clever nor as campy as the attraction it's based on, but it's a suitable representation of its, er, spirit. I still hope they don't make "Spinning Teacups: The Movie," but if they do, maybe there's a chance it will be OK.

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originally posted: 11/26/03 11:36:36
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User Comments

6/17/14 dr.lao Not terrible, but the comedy really isn't that funny 3 stars
2/13/10 Jeff Wilder Senator I saw Pirates Of The Caribbean. I liked Pirates. Senator this is no Pirates! 2 stars
8/16/09 the dork knight For a kid flick, it's not too terrible 4 stars
10/13/08 Shaun Wallner This film is hilarious!! 5 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Not even worth getting mad about. just pretend it dosent exist. 1 stars
2/03/07 ES Forgettable 2 stars
12/08/06 Stanley Thai A funny family film. Some thrilling scenes. 3 stars
8/17/05 love boring and childish, not very good script 2 stars
6/20/05 darick More unengaging than truly awful, especially to people 14 and over 2 stars
5/04/05 Quigley it'll freak the children out, but it was a clever film. some good digital effects as well. 5 stars
3/17/05 eddie fan #1 eddie, what have you done, what happened to the delirous eddie who said fuck every 30 secs 1 stars
1/30/05 gina THIS WAS THE BEST FAMILY FILM 5 stars
8/13/04 tatum Shut it off half way through, come on, people, Murphy has officially sold out 1 stars
7/22/04 Cecilia Corona Ireally liked it 5 stars
5/06/04 Mark Fulwiler The Disneyland ride is much more entertaining 2 stars
5/01/04 tiffany pate I love it. 5 stars
4/09/04 ramky Did'nt know Disney is this deep in s***!. Older ones are terrific, this one drips!!!! 1 stars
4/08/04 lyndon hasn't terence stamp deteriorated since "Billy Budd'. in 3 stars
2/18/04 Allison Lafferty Watchable light entertainment, nothing more or less. 4 stars
2/17/04 Littlepurch Better than expected. Script not gr8 but Eddie still really good. Too scary for kids tho. 4 stars
2/10/04 Whatevr Proof thet a Disney movie can suck (except for the direct to video sequels) 1 stars
12/10/03 re a good film 4 stars
12/09/03 Simon the Great dhis movie funnny eddie murphy is my hero so kool me likie! super kool effects 5 stars
12/08/03 Gray mansion=DARK side of Disney this film=kiddy horror/comedy..sick! 1 stars
12/08/03 ROTK=2004 Oscar!! Put Eddie out of his misery. Slit his throat now. 1 stars
12/04/03 KingNeutron Just goes to show, a good *director* can make a difference. 4 stars
12/02/03 re A GREAT FILM 5 stars
12/01/03 *A Monotonous Creton Who Loves Tom Hulce* i think u all should go to hell, muthafuckers, murphy rulz!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
11/29/03 Angry Black Man wasn't bad, wasn't great. Just O.K. The dvd might be cool though. 3 stars
11/29/03 Reese Witherspoon suckzzzzz Total turd. Someone must save Eddie from himself! 1 stars
11/28/03 k I REALLY wanted to like this movie... but it sucked 2 stars
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  26-Nov-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 20-Apr-2004



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