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A Grim Grinningly Good Time: A Review of Disney’s Haunted Mansion (2023)
Disney’s 2023 adaption of the “Haunted Mansion” is an enjoyable jaunt, faithfully bringing to life the playful spookiness of the classic theme park ride. With its foreboding entrance to the familiar call of “Welcome, foolish mortals,” the film makes a respectable effort to transport viewers into the ghostly realm of its 999 happy haunts.
The narrative of the film centers around an unsuspecting family embarking on a “ghostly retreat.” While the characters aren’t groundbreaking, they serve as a relatable conduit for the audience, drawing us into the mansion’s spectral hijinks. Their adventures through the mansion are a “swinging wake,” filled with amusing frights and an array of ghostly inhabitants.
Credit must be given to the special effects team for their CGI creations that instill the spectral occupants with a sense of eerie vitality. The floating Madame Leota, encased in her crystal ball, is particularly captivating, her cryptic messages guiding our protagonists through the mansion’s uncanny mysteries.
Fans of the theme park ride will enjoy the script’s integration of classic ride dialogue, such as the pay on Madame Leota’s memorable line of “Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat; call in the spirits, wherever they’re at.” This clever use of beloved lines adds a dash of nostalgia to the narrative.
While the film’s climactic scene, set amidst the tombstones, can feel a bit contrived, the finale rendition of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” brings a sense of familiarity and fun. It’s a treat for Disneyland fans.
The 2023 “Haunted Mansion” film is a light-hearted horror-comedy that doesn’t quite reach the high marks of cinematic greatness but manages to expertly recreate the essence of the original ride. It’s a spooky romp filled with ghostly gags, even if it doesn’t send chills down your spine.
This film is a “supernatural delight” for the whole family. Whether you’re a fan of the Disneyland attraction or just enjoy a light-hearted spectral tale, the Haunted Mansion movie won’t leave you feeling ‘doom-buggy.’