REVIEW | Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion, Disney’s second attempt to adapt the eponymous Disney ride for live action, is a superior iteration to 2003’s The Haunted Mansion which was neither funny nor scary. While embracing B-movie spookiness and silliness, Haunted Mansion tackles the concept of grief with much care. 

The plot revolves around a mother and son who find themselves forced into the mansion, leading them to recruit an exorcist priest, an astrophysicist-turned-paranormal tour guide, and a seance to aid them. A history professor with a heart problem voluntarily joins this ad hoc Scooby gang. 

Expect a lot of giggles and funny antics as they solve the mystery of the hauntings. But what makes this kid-friendly horror comedy worth watching is its authentic lessons on grief. Brace for scenes that could induce a cathartic crying jag for individuals still needing to process losing someone. 

Flashbacks involving actor LaKeith Stanfield and his subsequent breakdown adds realism to the movie. It is good that Haunted Mansion showed a person who acted so strong could easily bawl his eyes out. This, plus a revelation in the third act, presents a great opportunity to teach kids in the audience that mortality, grief, and loss are what make living important.

On the downside, assembling a diverse set of characters under one roof feel convenient for the story to move. It might also be good to give visual hints of the kid’s father so children in the audience would not miss an important plot twist.

Haunted Mansion feels like reading a Goosebumps pocketbook. It has the right amount of fun spooks and life (and death) lessons that can spark conversations among the family members after watching the film.

Rating: 8/10

Haunted Mansion is now playing in Philippine cinemas.