The ‘Haunted Mansion’ receives a subtle yet noteworthy renovation as Disney transforms the iconic ride into a movie


The ‘Haunted Mansion’ receives a subtle yet noteworthy renovation as Disney transforms the iconic ride into a movie.

Disney’s latest take on the “Haunted Mansion” is a clever renovation, building upon the foundation of the iconic theme-park ride. Compared to its previous attempt two decades ago, which starred Eddie Murphy, this new version boasts a darker tone and exhibits greater ambition, aiming to cater to a more adult audience while still paying homage to the ride’s classic elements.

Haunted Mansion
Haunted Mansion

The story unfolds in New Orleans and centers around Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), an astrophysicist with a camera capable of capturing ghostly images. Recruited by a priest (Owen Wilson) on behalf of Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her young son, who have acquired a haunted mansion intended to become a bed and breakfast, Ben finds himself grappling with his skepticism as he encounters real ghosts and a malevolent presence holding them captive. To confront the supernatural forces, they assemble an unusual team consisting of a psychic (Tiffany Haddish) and a historian (Danny DeVito).

While “Ghostbusters” demonstrated the comedic aspect of dealing with specters, “Haunted Mansion” leans more into the scare factor, exploring themes of loss and grief through Ben’s personal journey. However, the movie must balance these elements with the task of incorporating iconic ride features, leading to a slightly uneasy blend that may drain some vitality from the film. Nevertheless, the meticulous production design, replicating the ride’s intricate details, remains a notable strength.

The cast includes other notable names, such as Jamie Lee Curtis as Madame Leota and Jared Leto in a significant role as the Hatbox Ghost. As Disney continues to explore its vast content vaults, the advent of its streaming service has somewhat shifted the dynamics, making projects like “Haunted Mansion” feel less like major events and more like an opportunity to cater to streaming audiences.

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Despite the challenge of revitalizing a movie based on a theme-park ride, “Haunted Mansion” does an admirable job. However, the movie’s prospects in theaters might be short-lived, with a more promising future likely to await it in the realm of streaming.

“Haunted Mansion” is set to premiere in US theaters on July 28, with a PG-13 rating.

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