Friday, August 4, 2023

Disney’s ‘Haunted Mansion’ a fun ride on the big screen

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 2 hours, 2 minutes

Gabbie and her son Travis are moving to and starting over in a new house, Gracey Manor, with the intention to open a bed-and-breakfast. When strange things begin happening in the house, they are both convinced it’s haunted. They soon call on a dream team of experts to help rid their home of these unwelcome guests. 

They enlist the help of Ben; an astrophysicist, Father Kent, Harriet; a pyschic, and Professor Bruce Davis. They must join forces to banish the Hatbox Ghost, also known as Alistair Crump in this spooky adventure.

“Haunted Mansion” stars LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Danny DeVito, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chase Dillon, Jared Leto, and Charity Jordan.

Ben (Stanfield) is a grieving astrophysicist who developed a camera to detect dark matter. After the loss of his wife, Alyssa (Jordan) he takes over her ghost tours, despite being a non-believer.

When Gabbie (Dawson) and Travis (Dillon) move into Gracey Manor to open a B&B, they discover their house gets frightening, especially after midnight. They call on Ben to see if he can photograph some ghosts with his “ghost camera.” Ben meets Father Kent (Wilson) who has considered doing an exorcism on the manor.

Gabbie tries to convince Ben that setting foot in her home could change the course of his life. Ben’s not buying how scared they are. After being in the manor, Ben experiences strange occurrences at his apartment and now believes the ghost may have followed him home.

He returns to the manor and Gabbie and Travis tell him the hauntings have gotten worse. Ben thinks they need an exorcism, but Father Kent is hesitant.

After Ben explores the house on his own, he says they’ll need more help. They bring in Professor Bruce Davis (DeVito) and psychic Harriet (Haddish). Professor Davis has newspaper clippings detailing the deaths that took place in the manor.

While examining the attic of the manor, they find an old trunk with a crystal ball which houses Madame Leota (Curtis). The group finds a secret séance room and contact the spirit of William Gracey, who owned the manor previously. She explains there is a terrible evil that was summoned long ago; this is Alistair Crump (Leto). If Crump is not banished, the ghosts will remain at Gracey Manor.

Crump wants Ben as his last soul. A reverse séance is performed, and Ben goes looking for Crump.

Crump locks Gracey Manor down, but Ben, Travis and Father Kent have escaped, and traveled to Crump Manor, now a historical site with guided tours, to stop Crump. In Crump Manor, Travis finds Crump’s hat, which can be used as part of the ritual to banish Crump.

One of my favorite rides at Disney World is the Haunted Mansion. This movie has many elements from the ride, from changing picture frames to rising walls, and just an overall air of spookiness. It’s not super scary, though I did jump in my seat once. This is a perfect pre-Halloween treat. It’s funny and sweet in places, but the realistic abundance of ghosts may be too scary for younger audiences. I really enjoyed this action-packed movie and its special effects. Pay attention to the background in Gracey Manor for anything unusual. If you’re a fan of the Disney ride, haunted houses and ghouls, you have to see this one on the big screen.

Crump Manor tour guide Vic gives this movie two thumbs up.

Now showing only in theaters. <

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