The Haunted Mansion

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Haunted Mansion Movie Poster Image
Spooky movie based on Disneyland ride is dreadful.
  • PG
  • 2003
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 31 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

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. 

What 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."

User Reviews

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.
Adult Written bybnc91 May 18, 2010

Good for the Family

A movie about a haunted mansion sounds scary doesn’t it? But not Disney’s “The Haunted Mansion.” This film is more of a romance and comedy mixed with the parano... Continue reading
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 real... Continue reading
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!

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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