Haunted Mansion, our opinion

Synopsis – Haunted Mansion : A woman and her son enlist a motley crew of self-styled spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters.

Haunted Mansion: House of character in an old quarter

At the origin of Haunted Mansion attraction, there were the opposing visions of two Imagineers: should it be scary or funny? This insoluble question (which led to the compromise of doing both) is once again confronted in the film Haunted Mansion.

Of the four existing “Mansions” in the world, the 2023 film takes the model of the very first, the colonial house in New Orleans, while developing a story, a “lore”, around the place and some of its most famous inhabitants. And while the Disneyland Paris attraction is fortunate enough to have its own story, that’s not the case elsewhere!

Bold architecture, presence of construction defects

The script tries to pull out all the stops, but proves a little incoherent when it comes to connecting the dots at the very end, as if the writers had struggled to reconcile their ideas with the existing elements.

Logically, the film plays the attraction reference card to the hilt, whether in terms of characters, visuals, music or even whole quotes. Fans will be happy to play the spotting game, and the film is clearly made for that, but newcomers will see an accumulation of elements that are sometimes poorly connected.

Charming but intrusive neighbours

To wander the gloomy corridors of Haunted Mansion, we are treated to a cartoonish team of pseudo-experts, very clichéd but offering some funny jokes. While Danny DeVito’s comedic talent is unquestionable, and Chase W. Dillon is adorable as a little boy a little overwhelmed by events, the one who eats up the screen with his talent is Lakeith Stanfield, whose performance is always spot-on despite the film’s annoying tendency to constantly change register.

As for the farandole of ghosts and apparitions, their design is very digital, but above all their costumes oscillate between kitsch, the very successful (the villain has a way of impressing) and the downright ridiculous.

Wobbly stairs and warped floors

Humour, fear, emotion: by trying to play all three roles, Haunted Mansion literally stutters. And apart from the successful emotion, the other two points are not always convincing. The humour is often ponderous and expected, even if there are a few gags that hit the mark, and the scares will both give the younger viewers nightmares and be too mild for real fans of the genre. The film will struggle to find its audience.

Exit inventory

In conclusion, Haunted Mansion is a good time, especially for fans, but it’s frustrating not to be able to see it through to the end, with a good cast playing characters we’ve seen too much of. Perfect for escaping the heatwave, but it’s surprising that it wasn’t released directly on Disney +.

My name's Christian, I used to be a film music editor, but now I write reviews and articles on Star Wars, Marvel and more for ED92! I love shared universes and great sagas, and if my pen is sometimes hard, it's because I'm a great dreamer who waits to be told good stories.