Workaholic realtor Jim Evers, his wife/business partner Sara and their two children are summoned to a mansion. When they discover that the place is haunted, Jim discovers an important lesson about the family he's neglected as they attempt to escape.
Apartment building superintendent Cleveland Heep rescues what he thinks is a young woman from the pool he maintains. When he discovers that she is actually a character from a bedtime story who is trying to make the journey back to her home, he works with his tenants to protect his new friend from the creatures that are determined to keep her in our world.
M. Night Shyamalan
Bryce Dallas Howard,
Married realtors Jim and Sara with their children go to Gracey Manor and Mr. Gracey is enamored with Sara and they discover that Sara looks like Mr. Gracey's old girlfriend, Elizabeth, who died young and they think it was a suicide but discover that *spoiler* she was murdered . By Ramsey Written by
Before the DVD's Game tour with Ezra and Emma of the Mansion, during the direction, the reader was Tony Jay. See more »
When Jim is thrown out of the mansion and lands on his car, all the the doors lock and all of the shutters on the windows close. However in the very next scene, the window shutters in the room are clearly open. See more »
There. Ya happy?
No, I'm not happy! I'm trying to show Michael how important it is to whack your own spiders!
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Look for a "special" message from Madame Leota at the end of the credit roll. It sounds deadly familiar to the ending of the Disneyland ride. See more »
`When the crypt doors creak and the tombstones quake Spooks come out for a swinging wake Happy Haunts materialize and begin to vocalize- Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize'
Who would have thought that at this point the Walt Disney Company would be at a big crossroad with their adaptations of classic theme park attractions? When the family oriented studio announced the trio of ride based features, many were quick to call Disney executives crazy and desperate for story ideas. Most of the movie-going public would have agreed with them after the embarrassment that was The Country Bears in July 2002. Almost one year after that box office flop, Disney bounced back big with the surprise hit of the summer, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which steamed rolled its way to $300 million domestically and possibly two sequels. With both a hit and a miss in their hands, Disney's third and final theme park adaptation, The Haunted Mansion, could swing either way but the company executives would have it be a hit for sure. The presence of star lead Eddie Murphy should assure this. Granted Murphy has had plenty of recent adult oriented flops such as Showtime and I Spy but his reputation as a family film star has been remarkable including his most recent hit, Daddy Daycare. Can he continue the streak with The Haunted Mansion? If the marketing campaign for the film has anything to say about it, the answer should be a big yes.
The story focuses on a man who enters a haunted house with his family and must do whatever he can to save them from its ghostly in habitants. Jim Evers is a successful real-estate agent along with his partner wife, Sarah, but doesn't seem to find the time to spend quality time with his family. He's missed soccer games, anniversaries and barbeques for his work. Seeing his problem, Jim decides to take the entire family out to the lake for the weekend to make up for his mistakes. At the last minute, Sarah receives a call for her to stop by the Gracey Manor to help sell the decrepit estate. She at first declines but Jim urges her to take up the offer for the sake of the business and the family. Unfortunately they get more then they bargained for as creepy incidents occur around every corner and the entire mansion itself seems to be hiding a disturbing secret. Jim Evers must discover the mystery in the Haunted Mansion before it's too late for his family and himself. The story for The Haunted Mansion, though well intentioned, seems lacking and predictable. The opening sequence of the feature ruined any suspense for many later events and could have been done in a different way that didn't give away much of the story before the audience even had a chance to settle down in their seats.
The cast of The Haunted Mansion is a relative bunch of no names but they try to their best, which works effectively for the most part. Eddie Murphy leads the group with a moderate performance as Jim Evers. The problem lies in the fact that Murphy is not all that funny in the feature and really isn't given anything to do that gets a laugh. Nathaniel Parker, who portrays Master Gracey, gives a wonderfully Victorian style performance that's both creepy and effective. He starts off a sinister character but by the end, you realize his true intentions are as evil as they may seem. Terence Stamp achieves an amazingly creepy performance as the butler, Ramsley. Though the character seems to be a supporting role at first, as the feature rolls on he becomes more central to the storyline and therefore much more effective. Jennifer Tilly is a delightful highlight as Madame Leota (aka the floating head in the crystal ball) and stays true to character within the attraction for most of her time on screen. The only disappointment in the casting area involves Terence Stamp and Dina Waters who play the servants of the mansion. Stamp, who is most famous for his role in The Princess Bride, could have been used in a more humorous way then he was here but the filmmakers fail to do so. The two were barely used at all which results in a disappointing aspect of the feature, which could have been avoided if they were used more prominently.
Overall, Foolish mortals should heed this warning! If you are looking for another Pirates of the Caribbean, wait for the film's sequel rather then searching for it in The Haunted Mansion. Not to say that the film is not entertaining, it has its moments, but The Haunted Mansion doesn't even come close to the spectacular filmmaking that was presented in the summer swashbuckler. The problem lies mostly in the plot that is often flat and predictable ruining many of the film's twists before they are even set up. So what is the offender of this horrible filmmaking crime? The actions of the opening credits. If you have to see this film but don't want the film's secrets given away early then keep your eyes closed for the first three to five minutes. If anything reasonably favorable can be said of this film, it has to be the solid special effects and the creepy atmosphere the filmmakers are able to maintain despite a weak story. Disney fanatics will love the many tips of the hat towards the inspiration of the film including the hitch-hiking ghosts on the side of the road. There is no doubt that this film will be a family-friendly hit over the Thanksgiving weekend but for those looking solid filmmaking should save their money for the likes of Elf.
My Rating: *** ½ out of 5 (Grade: B-)
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