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Film Reviews by Lisa Blanck
 
Haunted Mansion
| Monday, 08.07.2023, 08:08 PM |   (355 views)



Disney’s Haunted Mansion is a fine mix of chuckles and chills. 

Basically, a tour guide, a psychic, a priest and a historian walk into a haunted home, each having their own hidden motivations, and try to solve a mystery. 

The premise: a woman named Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son, Travis (Chase W. Dillon), move into a dilapidated, and according to rumor, haunted mansion in New Orleans, looking for a new beginning.  What they find instead is a never-ending nightmare.  

Once you step across the threshold, the supernatural squatters are reluctant to let you leave.  And if you manage to evade their spectral shackles in this home, they will follow you to your own.

When it comes to this mansion, all is uneasy in the Big Easy.

The ensemble cast includes fiends, fakers and frauds, in both human and wraith variety.  LaKeith Stanfield is brought into the ghost-begone scheme by Owen Wilson.  One, a “spectral photographer” is nursing a deep hurt, the other is looking to fatten his wallet.  They are soon joined by Tiffany Haddish, a Medium who claims she can commune with spirits, and Danny DeVito, the historian of the group, who provides some of the keys to the ghastly ghosting.   

The group hold a séance in a hidden room, of course, where the former owner of the mansion, long since disembodied, reveals his sorrowful tale to one of the characters.  And the ghostbusting hunt begins, soon becoming a battle between the good dead, Madame Liota (Jamie Lee Curtis) and the bad dead (Jared Leto), as The Hatbox Ghost.

The most memorable part of the film is not the film itself, but how the team recreated many of the effects found by visitors to the Haunted Mansion attraction.

Perhaps you remember the three hitchhiking ghosts from the animated series? They’re still trying to hitch a ride, thumbs in the air.  Expanding and contracting walls, rooms and floors?  Check, check, check. The nostalgia is rampant and completely welcomed by Disneyphiles.



It’s all very PG.  About 15 minutes in, the six-year-old seated next to me proclaimed ‘this is scary’, but was rooted to her seat, with no intention to find the exit.  Adults may feel the same.  For this reviewer, the standout performer was Dillon, deliciously adorable in his bowtie and suit jacket.  Travis represents the Everyman in the film, swept up in a terrifying situation and trying to make the best of it.

If Haunted Mansion isn’t a huge hit at the box office for Disney, for what are assuredly ridiculous political reasons, I expect it to be #1 in streaming and DVD sales this coming holiday season, where all the “unwoke” mob can view their purchases in the safety of their living rooms. 

 

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor and Movie Reviewer for In Focus-Magazine.com.  Her background includes 30+ years of digital editing for WESH2 News and WKMG News.  She also edits on-air promotional spots for Matter Of Fact, the number one nationally syndicated news and information program.  For more than 30 years she has covered the Florida Film Festival and the World Peace Film Festival, with additional experience in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at MTV Networks.  She was previously a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper. 





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