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Haunted mansion film haunts audiences for all the wrong reasons

A scathing review

Disney’s new Haunted Mansion was released in July of 2023, but is now reaching a larger audience as Halloween approaches. Starring LaKeith Stanfield, Haunted Mansion follows the story of an astro-physicist who is commissioned to help a family rid their new house of the hundreds of ghosts that haunt it.

The movie is a remake of the 2003 hit starring Eddie Murphy, and notably had many flaws. Within the first few moments watching this film, I immediately noticed how star-packed it was.

With main characters of the cast being played by Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Jared Leto, Jamie Lee Campbell and other stars, I had low expectations despite the successes of the actors independently. Typically, movies that allocate a large portion of their budgets to casting A-listers lack crucial details in their writing and production. This movie was no exception.

The film makes a futile attempt at tackling various heavy emotions and topics all while trying to stay scary and enticing. It addresses the losses of loved ones, bullying, absent family members and other difficult topics.

Though I admire the desire to represent different backgrounds and life obstacles, the overload of emotions conveyed through the film distracts from the story line.

This flaw is exaggerated by the fact that the movie moves entirely too fast. Not only are viewers tasked with trying to dissect the various emotions of each character, they must also follow a storyline that develops far too quickly. Within minutes, new characters are introduced sloppily and each adventure progresses before the viewer is given time to process what is going on.

I was, however, pleasantly surprised at how scary the film was for a Disney movie. I had expected an elementary-level film with friendly ghosts and lighthearted characters, this was very much not the case. I am a self-proclaimed horror movie enthusiast and would rate my tolerance for scary films relatively high, which is one reason why I was shocked at the fact that Haunted Mansion managed to creep me out in some scenes. The movie is full of jump-scares and disheveled animated ghosts, some with violent tendencies and backgrounds that the movie didn’t hesitate to show.

If I felt this movie was a worthwhile watch, I would say that it is best suited for more mature audiences. However, given the childish storyline and mature topics clumsily assembled together, I would highly warn readers against wasting their time watching this film.

As a fan of LaKeith Steinfield and many of the other notable cast members, I wish I could honestly support their work on this film. This movie just feels like it was written and filmed in a rush, a theory that is further supported by the fact that this film came out in the middle of summer rather than in the fall.

Clocking in at just over two hours and 30 minutes, I feel classic horror movies are a far better way to prepare for the Halloween season. I would rate this movie two out of five stars, just because I can admire the story that the film attempted to portray. If more attention was spent slowing down the progression of the plot and catering the film to a more suitable audience instead of hiring big-shot actors, this movie could’ve had some potential. Unfortunately, it just missed some critical marks in my book.

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About the Contributor
Maria Wortman ’24
Maria Wortman ’24, Supervising Copy Editor
Maria Wortman ’24 is a second year staffer and a supervising copy editor for The Tower. Outside of Tower, Wortman said she enjoys reading, traveling and urges people to join the newly-founded Club Latino. She is excited for the possibilities The Tower offers her this year and looks forward to a great year.“I love how free we are in Tower to really write the work we want to produce,” Wortman said. “Obviously, there are still expectations (for all) of us, but we can still choose to approach stories from an independent angle which allows us to grow as writers.”Also in her freetime, she enjoys playing guitar. “I enjoy playing the guitar in my free time,” Wortman said. “I love playing for people, although I am not great.”

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