2023’s Haunted Mansion is the second movie inspired by the popular Disney spooky theme park attraction, released two decades after the namesake movie starring Eddie Murphy. The comedy horror was written by Katie Dippold and directed by Justin Simien (whose previous work includes the Netflix hit Dear White People). Featuring performances from A-listers like Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny DeVito, and Owen Wilson, expectations for this feature were high, perhaps a bit too high.
Where can you watch Haunted Mansion in the UAE?
Haunted Mansion is currently playing in cinemas across the UAE, such as VOX Cinema and Reel Cinemas. Considering this is a Dinsey theme-park-based movie, it will be streamed on Disney Plus, but it might be a while before the film hits the streaming service.
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Haunted Mansion review
The premise follows single mom Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) moving into her newly purchased mansion with her son, Travis (Chase W. Dillon). Unfortunately, their dream home becomes more of a nightmare when things start going bump in the night.
Desperate to get rid of her unwanted ghosts, Gabbie seeks help from Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), a tour guide who previously invented a camera that can take pictures of actual ghosts. As Ben is still grieving his wife, wants nothing to do with the mansion or its ghosts. But he has a change of heart after one of the malevolent spirits follows him home.
While the film starts with Gabbie and Travis, their story is not at the centre of this movie. Ben is the actual main character.
He decides to help the single mom get rid of her ghost problem, so he assembles a team of “experts” in the paranormal field. Among them are psychic Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), Catholic priest Father Kent (Owen Wilson), and historian Bruce Davis (played by Danny de Vito).
As the movie progresses, the characters uncover more of the mansion’s mystery, get to chat with the ghostly medium played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and need to face off against the villainous and faceless otherworldly demon voiced by Jared Leto.
Mediocre horror comedy
Haunted Mansion starts strong, and the first half even has a few decent scares. But as the narrative continues, it gets more convoluted. There are too many nonsensical jokes, too much exposition, and too many action scenes thrown in for the sake of it, and none of them tie together at the conclusion.
Horror comedies are pretty hard to get right, especially as the genre is supposed to appeal to families. In the case of Haunted Mansion, the filmmakers mixed too many elements and overcomplicated what should have been a pretty straightforward plot.
As brilliant as the all-star cast assembly is, their talents feel a bit wasted here. The performances are as strong as they can be, especially Stanfield and Wilson, but that doesn’t make up for the lack of a cohesive story.
That’s not to say the film isn’t entertaining, the production and the cinematography are close to perfection, and several Easter Eggs are nodding to fans of the theme park attraction. While the story needed some work, the visuals exceeded expectations.