out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
The Haunted Mansion
|*Also starring: ||Don Knotts, Jennifer Tilly, Nathaniel Parker, Jeremy Gilbreath, Kelly Stables, Wallace Shawn, Martin Klebba, Jeremy Howard||
Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4
Compared with "Pirates of the Caribbean," this Disney amusement park
ride-inspired effort is pathetic. It's not as bad as "The Country Bears" (2002)
but that's not saying much.
"Welcome Foolish Mortals." Eddie Murphy plays Jim Evers, an ambitious
real-estate agent who works with his wife Sara (Marshal Thomason). She
fervently wishes he'd spend more time with their children (13 year-old Aree
Davis, 10 year-old Marc John Jefferies) and is chagrined when her workaholic
husband jumps at the chance to sell a decrepit Louisiana mansion even if it
means delaying their eagerly-anticipated family weekend trip. After Jim assures
everyone that their detour into the bayou will be "20 minutes tops," they
reluctantly arrive at the property and get stuck there overnight when a storm
washes out the bridge. Their creepy companions include Ramsley (Terence Stamp),
a ghastly butler who's seen too many vintage Vincent Price/Boris Karloff
movies, and Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker), the ghostly, cursed owner who is
convinced that Sara is his long-lost love - along with relentlessly fading
apparitions like Ezra (Wallace Shawn), Emma (Dina Waters) and wisecracking
Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly).
Written by David Berenbaum and directed by Rob Minkoff, "Mansion" creaks
and crumbles with allusions to old movies ("I see dead people." "There's no
place like home." "The butler did it."), except for John Myhre's remarkable
production design with its sliding doors and hidden panels. When the Evers'
family is being pursued by musical instruments, it's a singularly memorable
sequence. Otherwise, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Haunted
Mansion" is a bleak, boring 4. Neither scary nor funny, it's just a moldering
Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger
Buy movie posters!