In my area, I don’t know anyone who is looking forward to ” Haunted Mansion,” a family Disney movie. The situation in Central Europe is starkly different from that in America, where the Haunted Mansion is a popular Disneyland attraction. Hollywood has tried to adapt this attraction into a movie before, most notably a version from twenty years ago starring Eddie Murphy, but it’s largely been forgotten. However, the success of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise shows that movies based on theme park attractions can work. Unfortunately, “The Haunted House” falls short.
Haunted House: A Review
Director Justin Simien, previously known for “Dear White People” and “Bad Hair,” has now been handed a $150 million-plus project by Disney. It seems the studio was hoping to emulate the success of hits like “Jumanji” or “Goosebumps” featuring Jack Black. While “Jumanji” was a commercial success, a similar film, “Jungle Cruise,” failed to achieve the same impact. One key difference was its all-star cast, something that “The Haunted House” lacks. The film tries to mix scares and humor, but it falls short in both departments.
The film features a mix of actors who either aren’t big draws (LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson), were popular two decades ago (Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito), or are Jared Leto. None of them turn in particularly embarrassing performances, but neither do they elevate the material.
Movies like “Jumanji” perform better in the same genre, “Goosebumps” features imaginative monsters and a lively Jack Black, “Expedition: Jungle” has strong leads, and the new “Ghostbusters” film offers heart, nostalgia, and talented child actors. In contrast, “The Haunted House” is an expensive spectacle that never finds its own identity.
While you could argue that the film outperforms the poorly received 2016 remake of “Ghostbusters,” it fails to offer anything new or interesting. Fans of the original attraction may find some Easter eggs, but it’s difficult to see why anyone would want to invest time and money in this film. If you do end up watching “The Haunted House,” you’ll likely leave the theater unscathed, but also unimpressed.
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