Disney’s The Haunted Mansion Movie Is Just Like The Ride Equal Parts Spooky and Funny
Last night I attended the advanced screening of Disney’s newest take on the cult favorite ride The Haunted Mansion. The original film of the same title debuted in 2003 starring Eddie Murphy, and kind of faded into oblivion. Let’s just say it was not Pirates of The Caribbean easily the best ride-turned-film franchise in Disney history. But Disney decided to try again. The Haunted Mansion ride could easily be described as one of, if not the, most beloved Disney theme park attraction. And while it’s not my personal all-time favorite (RIP Splash Mountain, that title now goes to Tower of Terror) it is a “must-do” for me when I visit a Disney park.
In terms of Disney fans, I’m probably in the lower tier of those still considered fans. I’m far from a “Disney adult”. But I grew up loving the theme parks and still do. I have visited both US parks- Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort a total of 5 times, and the OG Disneyland Resort twice. But I don’t go every year, and unless someone was footing the bill don’t have much of a desire to. It’s more special to me personally when it’s something I don’t get to do all that often. All of this to say, I do have a strong sense of nostalgia for Disney, but I’m far from the “die-hard” fan title. I’m much more into the rides themselves than the Disney culture if that makes sense.
Though I will absolutely go see a Disney movie-you know the caliber of what you’re getting and the story often has some familiarity. But I don’t go see them all, there are numerous I haven’t seen.
Disney’s The Haunted Mansion Movie
Cue Disney’s Haunted Mansion. I have a lot of fond memories of this ride, so I was instantly intrigued when I heard about the movie. As I noted before the original adaptation, was forgettable. But I had high hopes for this film. And the movie delivered much in the same way that the ride does. While a “haunted” attraction, the ride has moments of humor mixed in with the more spooky scenes. For reference, I rode the ride numerous times as a 5-year-old and don’t recall ever being frightened. The movie played on this dynamic as well. Was I ever truly scared? No, not at all. But there are spooky scenes and lots and lots of ghosts. Some were nice and one, in particular, was not so friendly.
Equal Parts Spooky and Funny
There are also numerous moments of humor, many times with the entire theater busting out laughing. These moments were delivered at just the right time and were all very relatable to the age we live in and the places we regularly visit. I want to keep this review completely spoiler free, so you’ll just have to trust my lack of examples. There were also heavier themes dealing with loss and grief so that could be something you may want to know about ahead of time. The film is rated PG-13 mainly due to theming more than language or anything that could be deemed inappropriate.
The story takes place in New Orleans and a mansion right outside the Lousiana city, in the present day. It follows a mom and her son, as they move to the area for a fresh start. They find a fixer-upper on Zillow- the Haunted Mansion. Within moments they realize it’s haunted and call for help from a variety of characters including a priest, an astrophysicist, a professor, and a medium. Together they set out to save the house and the ghosts. You can watch the trailer below as well.
Incorporating The Ride Into The Movie
What I loved most about the film, is the way they incorporated the classic scenes from the ride into the movie. Because you can’t make a movie about a beloved attraction, without capitalizing on the attraction. From a scene that gives viewers a glimpse of the ride’s “doombuggy’s” to the hitchhiking ghosts. There is of course Madam Liota in her crystal ball. The iconic stretching room and its recognizable paintings (which come to life). You get multiple glimpses at the ballroom scene, one of the ride’s happier moments. And no Haunted Mansion is complete without its graveyard.
As mentioned above, the film takes place in New Orleans, so if you are expecting to see the Haunted Mansion from Orlando, you won’t. The exterior mirrors Disneyland’s version of the ride. Which is located in the New Orleans Square section of the park. It’s a stately southern mansion. If you’ve never visited Disneyland perhaps this would diminish a little bit of the nostalgia. But I personally love it.
Final Thoughts on Disney’s The Haunted Mansion Movie
I’m very glad I saw the Haunted Mansion movie and absolutely enjoyed it. If you’ve seen other Disney rides turned movies I’d rank it well above Jungle Cruise but not quite as high as the original Pirates Of The Caribbean movie. It was well done, enjoyable, and mirrored the ride in numerous ways. The plot was modern and easy to follow. The moments of spookiness and humor did the attraction justice. My biggest complaint? That the ride’s narrator didn’t give us the two most iconic quotes in the oh-so-recognizable voice. “Welcome to the Haunted Mansion” and “And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors… which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! A-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!! Of course, there’s always my way…”
Were the characters able to find a way out? You’ll have to catch the movie which is in theaters Friday, to find out!