Opening

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The Haunted Mansion (2003)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 4.2/10
Reviews Counted: 135
Fresh: 18 | Rotten: 117

Critics Consensus: Neither scary nor funny, The Haunted Mansion is as lifeless as the ghosts in the movie.

17%
Average Rating: 4.4/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 29

Critics Consensus: Neither scary nor funny, The Haunted Mansion is as lifeless as the ghosts in the movie.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 134,327

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Movie Info

After the blockbuster success of Pirates of the Caribbean, another Disney theme park ride is adapted for the big screen in this family-friendly mix of comedy and chills. Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) is a real estate agent whose latest project is to find a buyer for a huge but dilapidated old house in New Orleans. However, when Evers visits the property with his family, he discovers it's already inhabited by 999 ghosts, none of whom are interested in sharing the space. As the spirits make their … More

Rating:
PG (for frightening images, thematic elements and language)
Genre:
Horror , Kids & Family , Mystery & Suspense , Science Fiction & Fantasy , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
David Berenbaum
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Apr 20, 2004
Box Office:
$75.8M
Runtime:
Buena Vista Pictures - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for The Haunted Mansion

All Critics (143) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (117) | DVD (24)

[I]t's dreadful.

Full Review… | December 8, 2003
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

Rob Minkoff has directed a movie that's nearly laughless and nowhere near as frightening as what's happened to Eddie Murphy's career.

Full Review… | December 2, 2003
Village Voice
Top Critic

A pleasant and atmospheric family romp, offering enough mildly chilling thrills to keep everyone entertained during its brief running time.

November 28, 2003
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

More Disneyland ride than movie, short on plot and long on dazzling visuals for the kiddies.

November 28, 2003
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

The point of Haunted Mansion is for audiences to sit back and enjoy the ride, which is easy to do thanks to an engaging story, the striking, Gothic-inspired set by Oscar-winner John Myhre and some delightful special effects.

Full Review… | November 26, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

It's perfectly palatable family fare for a long weekend when it's hard to find movies at the neighborhood 'plex that will please everyone.

November 26, 2003
Washington Post
Top Critic

Go on the Disney ride instead. It's over sooner.

Full Review… | December 28, 2010
Common Sense Media

When a Disney ride becomes a movie, there's not much hope that things will turn out as well as they do in this tame horror comedy.

Full Review… | May 10, 2009
ColeSmithey.com

Great visuals, few scares and laughs. But it IS clean family entertainment.

October 23, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Beautiful production design and bags of promise give way to disappointment in this family comedy.

Full Review… | July 20, 2004

A thunderstorm of mysterious origin traps the old mansion.

Full Review… | May 26, 2004
Entertainment Spectrum

Regardless of all the ghosts, or maybe because of them, The Haunted Mansion is one lifeless, spiritless affair.

Full Review… | April 13, 2004
Movie Metropolis

Eddie Murphy, fresh from a string of wearyingly bad performances in really horrible features, pulls The Haunted Mansion down around him with record-breaking speed

Full Review… | March 10, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

You wonder why you're willing to wait an hour-and-a-half to go on it for the umpteenth time.

Full Review… | February 24, 2004
Zap2it.com

Uma comédia de horror que não assusta nem faz rir.

Full Review… | January 17, 2004
Cinema em Cena

Comic thrillers are always risky, but this one lacks even a hint of badly needed black humour.

Full Review… | January 16, 2004
Shadows on the Wall

Despite a talented cast of actors, nothing really stands out in this movie based on a theme park ride.

Full Review… | January 14, 2004
Laramie Movie Scope

Mansion is as dead as the spirits who haunt its unspooktacular walls.

Full Review… | January 9, 2004
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

Hauntingly Bad.

Full Review… | December 27, 2003
3BlackChicks Review

... essentially a soulless collection of episodic gags... only serves to hammer a few more nails into [Eddie Murphy's] career's coffin.

Full Review… | December 20, 2003
MovieCrypt.com

At this point, you can't really be mad at Eddie for making kid movies seeing as his adult career done dried up long ago (did YOU see "I Spy," "Pluto Nash" or "Showtime?").

Full Review… | December 5, 2003
BET.com

uses the ride's familiar visuals as a leaping-off point for the horror-comedy, which is at times delightfully silly and at other times depressingly thin

Full Review… | December 5, 2003
Q Network Film Desk

Manages to make even such surefire audience grabbers as a zombie attack exceedingly dull.

December 5, 2003
Creative Loafing

To paraphrase one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite films ("Little Big Man"): Sometimes the Magic Kingdom works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Full Review… | December 4, 2003
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

It's ironic that in 2003 we find Murphy playing a role that, for all intents and purposes, might have been done by Mantan Moreland 60 years ago -- only Mantan was funnier.

Full Review… | December 4, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for The Haunted Mansion

Ah 2003, the start of Disney's major theme park ride adaptations into the movies...not counting a few earlier nondescript flicks and 'Mission to Mars' which I never realised was a theme park adaptation. If you think about this premise you could be forgiven for thinking it would turn out crap, especially with Eddie Murphy involved. And you wouldn't be far wrong on that one point, the casting of Murphy and his 'family' members in this film was a terrible choice.

The reason being they all stick out like a sore thumb in the story, they all look totally out of place and none can act too well. The film has been turned into a Murphy vehicle and the film suffers for it, it feels forced, his family in the film feel forced and fake, the silly humour and annoying dialog from Murphy feels forced and its all in there simply for Murphy, awful decision.

That aside the rest of the film is actually pretty sweet. The plot has been cleverly turned into a romantic ghost tale where upon the mansions owner is seeking his one true love whom he lost centuries ago. Of course his true love is Murphy's living wife so a battle of supernatural proportions ensues as Murphy must stop this aristocratic spook floating off with his wife.

What works is the extra casting of the main ghost servants and their master within the mansion. Stamp is perfect as the stiff upper lipped butler with a dark secret, Wallace Shawn is perfect as the quirky sidekick footman ghost, Tilly is surprisingly good as the crystal ball gypsy spirit and Nathaniel Parker plays the noble British toff manor owner to a tee complete with thick dark locks. Not too sure how these ghosts work though, at times they can't or don't seem to interact with the living, then all of a sudden they can touch and pick things up.

Its all very cliched and hammy of course being based on a stereotypical haunted house attraction but that's fine, you expect that. In fact they capture that atmosphere perfectly, the whole eccentric Disney ambiance coupled with an eerie fanciful glow. Indeed the film does work better if you have actually been on the attraction at Disney World. There are many many little homages to the ride throughout the film from visual references to dialog, some sequences showing identical sections from the attraction. It does sounds kinda tacky but it really works nicely and gives you a pleasant ghostly trip down memory lane.

I really liked how the ghosts become 'more dead' visually the further from the mansion they are. So once outside all the ghosts have a really cool supernatural blue glow or aura which looks quite striking. I liked the graveyard and how it housed many of the ghosts from the attraction including the three famous hitchhiker spooks. As said I also liked the replication of sets from the attraction too, the hallway of portraits being the main one easily. One thing I didn't like was the swamp set New Orleans look for the mansion, not my personal cup of tea, I prefer the Liberty Square Dutch Gothic design from Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

But how did that ghostly horse drawn hearse crash through the walls of the mansion complete with Murphy and co inside?. How would ghosts be able to knock through walls when they are...errr ghosts. And how on earth would living people be able to go through the wall with the ghosts??.

On the whole the film does look really good and clearly a lot of thought and craftsmanship went into making the visuals realistic. Its really nice (and amazingly surprising) that they actually constructed the mansion instead of relying on CGI. The interiors and props all benefit from genuine craftsmanship too which really sets the mood, for all you 'Nightmare Before Christmas'/Addams Family/Munster lovers out there (like me) you'll love it.

This is a film you really really really really did expect to be utter utter utter tripe...but its not!. Its actually a really decent looking light-hearted supernatural ride just like the real attraction. The homages are great for folk who have been to the attraction but for those who haven't they just come across as neat spooky visual candy. As I said the only let down is Murphy and co as the endangered mortal family, well mainly Murphy. His tomfoolery lets down the quite decent performances of the supernatural cast.

phubbs1
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

½

Only one long commercial for the Disney amusement park attraction, with Murphy in the onerous stereotype of scared jiggaboo pitchman. Stamp does his best to raise the material past the bar but to no avail. A pox on Unca Walt.

ApeneckFletcher
Apeneck Fletcher

Super Reviewer

½

I enjoy it once and a while, but it was just never really my thing.

DreamExtractor
Jim Careter

Super Reviewer

Funny at some parts, but Eddie Murphy is awful--again.

spielberg00
Alexander Diminiano

Super Reviewer

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