The Haunted Mansion

 
(i)

 

Spooky movie based on Disneyland ride is dreadful.
  • Review Date: May 4, 2004
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The importance of making your family a greater priority than career.

Positive role models

Though the characters are too one-dimensional to be seen as positive role models, the father learns to put his family and marriage before his career, and the son learns to be brave. 

Violence

Scary and spooky with creepy and grisly images. Talk of the mother of the family in the haunted house having killed herself in a past life, interspersed with a quick shot of a women hanging from a noose. Lots of chases and peril involving ghosts and skeletons, including skeletons chasing children. Kids are put into a chest by a ghost. Frequent demonic noises.  

Sex

Lead character makes reference to ghost trying to "get jiggy" with his wife. 

Language

"Damn," "hell." Reference to "big-ass termites." "Crap" muttered by a 10-year-old. Reference to ghost trying to "get jiggy" with a woman. "Aw, Christ." 

Consumerism

The movie is based on a theme park ride.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink tiki drinks in a Polynesian-themed bar. Alcohol drinking at dinner, but no one acts drunk. Cigar smoking. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Haunted Mansion is a 2003 movie starring Eddie Murphy as a real estate agent and father of a family who ends up trapped in an old estate filled with ghosts, demons, and zombies. There are many chase scenes involving peril to young kids; these, and the atmospherics of the crypt scenes, might scare younger viewers. The mother of the movie is told she committed suicide in a past life, and this moment is interspersed with the quick image of a woman hanging dead from a noose. A ghost is dragged into a fiery pit while other ghosts dematerialize to ascend into the heavens. Younger children might be scared when the parents are threatened. Eddie Murphy's character makes reference to a ghost trying to "get jiggy" with his wife. Profanity includes "hell," "ass," "Christ," "damn," and "crap."

What's the story?

During a family trip with his wife Sara (Marsha Thomason) and two kids, workaholic realtor Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) decides to check into things when a mysterious caller requests that Sara be the agent for a mansion outside of town. After the Evers clan arrives at the mansion, a storm rolls into the bayou, forcing the family to stay overnight as guests in the atmospheric household of Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker) and his spooky butler Ramsley (Terence Stamp). Once the doors slam shut, the family must solve the mystery of the spooky mansion before they can leave together again.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Inspired by Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride, the movie of the same name is about as original as you might expect. Director Rob Minkoff doesn't pull off the surprising treat that was Pirates of the Caribbean. But he does turn a six-minute ride into a 90-minute picture with a plot as thin as a spiderweb and as predictable as a Scooby-Doo episode.

The movie drags despite the near constant rushing of Jim and his children between clues. Though Jim's spiel is a lighthearted patter complemented by his kids' matter-of-fact acceptance of their surroundings, the resulting dialogue feels smarmy. Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly) and the barbershop quartet add a little life, but you have to wonder at a movie where disembodied heads turn in the movie's most interesting performances. Thomason shows little acting range, while Terence Stamp's effortless performance appears to tap the actor's immense desire to be out of the movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about priorities and how different people in the same family might view an action in a different light. For example, Jim argues that he's trying to succeed in business so his kids will have everything they want, whereas his kids argue that they really only want time with their parents.

  • Why do you think Disney would make a movie based on one of their theme park rides? 

  • How does this movie compare with other "haunted house" movies? Were the scary moments too scary for younger kids? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 26, 2003
DVD release date:April 20, 2004
Cast:Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Tilly, Terence Stamp
Director:Rob Minkoff
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Thriller
Topics:Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:frightening images, thematic elements and language

This review of The Haunted Mansion was written by

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byKayKayD September 21, 2009
 

Fun Family Movie

This movie is good for younger viewers. The movie itself isn't exactly scary until you get into the crypt scene in the graveyard. The zombies are very realistic and might scare young children. Also, the butler gets pulled into Hell (and they do name it as such) in the movie. Something else that might bother kids. Not too scary. Fun, family movie. Eddie Murphy is very, very funny.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv February 4, 2009
 

Funny horror film!

For a horror film, it isn't scary, just funny. Eddie Murphy rocks!
Adult Written byla_teach May 13, 2012
 

Dirty mouth!

While the movie is funny in parts and has some "safe" scary sections, the language is completely inappropriate for kids.
What other families should know
Too much swearing

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