When Pirates of the Caribbean came out in 2003, naysayers claimed there was no way a movie about a Disney ride could be good. They were wrong, and a franchise was born. Now, Disney wants to do the same thing with another ride: The Haunted Mansion. Unfortunately, at least if you believe the reviews, that will be hard to pull off.
Before we dive in, here’s the official synopsis of the movie:
“A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a historian to help exorcise their newly bought mansion; after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts.”
It stars LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, Tiffany Haddish, Dan Levy, Hasan Minhaj, Winona Ryder, and Jamie Lee Curtis, among others.
The movie has a Metacritic score of 49 and a Rotten Tomatoes score that’s just as bad at 56%. Sure, some movies are critic-proof. The Super Mario Bros. Movie, despite some brutal reviews, went on to become one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
There’s probably not the same amount of fan adoration for The Haunted Mansion, so anything in that neighborhood will probably not happen. Here’s one from Mike Massie.
“Instead of reminding audiences of the fun of the Disneyland staple, this garbled chiller feels more like waiting in a long line just to get onto the ride.” Garbled chiller? Brutal.
This movie, by the way, has already been done. It was released in 2003 and starred Eddie Murphy. It wasn’t great either, but it did make around $182 million worldwide.
The Daily Beast critic Nick Schager said, “Just as busy, corny, and predictable as its 2003 iteration — as well as destined to swiftly pass into the cinematic afterlife that is both convenience store bargain bins and cluttered streaming platform libraries.”
His headline was “The Only Scary Thing About The New ‘Haunted Mansion‘ Movie Is How Bad It Is.” No one is pulling punches. Could it be in solidarity with the ongoing writer’s strike?
Lucas Trevor at the Washington Post said, “It’s too dark for a family film, too weightless and juvenile for grown-ups. In a season notable for high-level action spectacle and important auteur projects, Haunted Mansion is not just confused but inconsequential.” Ouch.
Here’s another good snippet from Minneapolis Star Tribune critic Chris Hewitt.
“The main thing that haunts Haunted Mansion is the ghost of the movie it might have been.”
Haunted Mansion sneaks into theaters on July 28.