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An honest review of the Haunted Mansion movie

An honest review of the Haunted Mansion movie

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Does Disney’s new Haunted Mansion movie live up to the hype? Will fans of the attraction be satisfied with the film adaptation? I watched the movie, and here is my honest (spoiler-free) review.

Haunted Mansion Movie

Credit: KtP

Disney has been releasing a slew of live-action films based off cartoons and attractions. Over the last several years, we have gotten remakes of cartoon favorites like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and more.

Attractions to have film adaptations include Pirates of the Caribbean, Tower of Terror (yes, from 1997), and Jungle Cruise. And fans have strong feelings about these live-actions, with many either loving them or hating them.

Credit: Disney

Making these film adaptations of movies taps into the fandom even more and allows Disney to develop the storyline of the attraction and the characters within that attraction. The latest live-action film to be released is Haunted Mansion.

I (Monica) was very eager to see the movie, and I loaded up the family for a fun morning at the movies. Here are my honest, spoiler-free thoughts on the film and if you should go see it.

The Cast

Credit: Maggie

Disney did an outstanding job casting for the movie. Not only do we see all the ghosts we encounter on the attraction, but we are also introduced to a slew of new characters.

There’s Gabbie and Travis, the mother and son who move into the mansion. Then, we have the priest, Father Ken, as well as Ben the astrophysicist, Harriet the medium, and the professor. Together, this group is responsible for solving the mystery of the haunted mansion and freeing the ghosts.

Credit: KtP

The other cast who played characters from the attraction also did fantastic. Jared Leto certainly plays a convincing Hatbox Ghost. Disney also cast Jamie Lee Curtis as the perfect Madame Leota. You won’t be disappointed with the cast choices.

There was also a certain level of humor brought to the film. While this is certainly not a comedy, there were some funny one-liners and such to break up the tone. This helps it feel less scary in some instances.

Disney was able to avoid crossing the line of scary in the film just like Imagineers did all those years ago with the attraction. You may have heard the story that Walt did not want this to be a scary attraction, so they changed some aspects of the ride. I certainly think they wanted the same now for the film, and they were successful in doing so.

The Storylines

Credit: Susan

There are three different storylines that the movie follows. There is the main storyline of how to free the ghosts from the mansion, and the other two involve one of the main characters (Ben) and the storyline of the ghosts. In particular, I really liked how the movie shared more of the ghosts’ stories.

Without giving away spoilers, the Hatbox Ghost is the main ghost and now it makes sense why Disney is focusing so much on him with the new sipper and addition to the Magic Kingdom attraction later this year. Disney inserts a whole new story into him that we see unfold throughout the film.

Another small storyline that I thought was particularly interesting was the movie divulged more about Madame Leota’s story – how she got inside the crystal ball and her relation to the house. The movie brought these iconic scenes from the attraction to life, and I think that is something fans will love about the movie.

The Attraction References

Credit: Susan

I will say the film was enhanced with all the attraction references. If you have not been on the attraction, they will fly right over your head. However, I don’t think it’s entirely necessary to need to ride the attraction before seeing the film. It can still be viewed as a stand alone movie.

BUT, it definitely doesn’t hurt! Be sure to catch some of the fun references like the ghosts don’t like flash photography and the ghosts followed some of the characters home which is part of the script for the attraction.

You will also see various scenes from the attraction in the movie – like the stretching room, ballroom, attic, hallway, and graveyard. These are fun little references that really bring the attraction to life and remind you that you are not watching just a random movie about a haunted mansion, but you are watching a movie about THE Haunted Mansion.

Is it scary for kids?

Credit: Disney

I took all four of my kids to see this movie. Their ages are 13, 12, 8, and 6. All but the 6 year old did not think it was scary. My youngest loves the attraction, but I think seeing the ghosts “come to life” was a bit too intense for him. My 6 year old never got upset, but he was a little creeped out.

If your little one is scared of ghosts, spooky things, or the ride I would advise you to hold off on letting them see it. There was also one curse word. With all that said, I don’t think the film rating of PG-13 is entirely warranted.

Final Thoughts

Credit: Maggie

My entire family loved the movie! We thought the casting and storylines were great. We loved spotting the film references and getting a piece of the Haunted Mansion at home.

I think Disney truly did a fantastic job on the film, and fans of the attraction will not be disappointed. It did not feel like Disney was just trying to copy a previous version which is something I have felt with several of the previous remakes. It was refreshing and entertaining, and I hope Disney considers more films based on attractions!

Have you been to the see new Haunted Mansion movie? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below and share this post with a friend who would like to read a review.

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Sunday 6th of August 2023

I saw it yesterday and loved it!!!!

Cathy Hroncich

Monday 31st of July 2023

I loved it! I was happy to see all the references to the ride. I would like to see it again because I know I missed a few things. It made me want to come home and book a trip to FL. I was disappointed to only see 4 other people at a 5:45 movie on Friday night with my husband and I. I was afraid of that being released one week after Barbie.


Monday 31st of July 2023

My wife wanted to see this and Disney is what got me interested in movies 60ish years ago, but as others have said I'm not a huge fan of what Disney is now. I was not expecting this to be good at all, and initially said no, but changed my mind. I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed myself. Had I seen this as a little kid it would probably have scared me, but it was cute and very entertaining, even for this old part couple with no children.

Hank Gallo

Sunday 30th of July 2023

Saw it yesterday with my wife. We're big Disney fans and love Dianeylands Haunted Mansion. They did a great job of bringing so many details to life. And to "flesh out" the story of the long lost Hatbox Ghost was a great addition to the movie. Go see it.

William AUSTIN

Sunday 30th of July 2023

Went to see Disney’s new iteration of the Haunted Mansion yesterday. I will tell you right up front that it is not a HORROR movie… it is a slapstick, in your face, family comedy. That said I will say I really enjoyed the movie. It won’t win any Oscars but with a cast of Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tiffany Haddish and newcomer LaKeith Stanfield it is sure to make you laugh and smile. The special effects were great with lots of nods to the Ride in Disney. If you’ve ever ridden the Haunted Masion Ride at Disney then you will feel right at home watching this movie. We sat behind a family of five with children of all ages and they laughed and clapped and seemed like they were having a great time. It is a family movie and worth the watch. So, buy a big bucket of popcorn slathered with butter, sit back, and enjoy 2 ½ hours of fun.

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