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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Haunted Mansion (2023) - A Spooky, Heartwarming Romp

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Rating: ★★★1/2☆ (31/2/5 Stars)

Released 07-28-2023

Watched 07-30-2023

Reviewed 08-01-2023

Viewed in Theater - Using Cinemark Movie Club

"I know this place isn't as warm as I hoped. But I'm gonna light a vanilla candle, and it's gonna be a game-changer."

Bouncing back from the less-than-stellar 2003 version, this year's "Haunted Mansion" manages to breathe new life into the haunted house trope, thanks largely to the strong cast and expert pacing. However, it does fall short in terms of emotional depth and scare factor.

Jared Leto's portrayal of the “Hatbox Ghost” is captivating and remarkably layered. On the other hand, LaKeith Stanfield, playing the role of Ben Matthias, delivers a compelling performance that captures the audience's attention. Tiffany Haddish as Harriet and Owen Wilson as Father Kent provide the film's primary comedic relief, their comedic timing and banter flowing effortlessly and matching the film's fast-paced nature. Jamie Lee Curtis, stepping into the ethereal shoes of Madame Leota, gives an eerie performance that serves the movie well. Lastly, in the role of Professor, Danny DeVito shines with his signature charisma, although his character could have benefitted from a deeper backstory.

The humor and pacing of "Haunted Mansion" are undoubtedly its strong points. The narrative unfolds rapidly but not abruptly, effectively maintaining the audience's engagement. The script is laden with wit, and the comedic sequences provide well-timed breaks from the supernatural chaos.

However, the film disappoints in its development of the multiple romantic subplots, leaving much to be desired in terms of emotional depth. It feels like a missed opportunity to add another layer to the plot and the characters involved.

Moreover, the film skimps on the scare factor despite being branded as a horror-comedy. (Maybe they are calling it Comedy Drama Family?) Although it's clear the focus was more on the comedic aspect, a darker, more ominous undertone would have given the narrative a much-needed edge and complexity.

Overall, "Haunted Mansion" (2023) proves to be a solid, enjoyable watch - a refreshing blend of comedy and supernatural antics anchored by strong performances. It might not be the most terrifying or emotionally engaging film, but it's certainly a step up from its predecessor and a decent way to spend a couple of hours.


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