Disney’s Haunted Mansion (2023) seems to be facing a critical challenge with early reviews not painting a positive picture. However, the film has garnered some positive feedback from early audience reactions.
The movie, based on Disney’s theme-park attraction of the same name, doesn’t seem to have much to offer beyond the haunted mansion concept. Critics note that it feels like a live-action branding opportunity, similar to other IP-based projects in recent years. The first film based on the Haunted Mansion attraction, starring Eddie Murphy in 2003, wasn’t well-received by critics, but it still made considerable money.
Directed by Justin Simien, known for his impactful satire “Dear White People,” the film features a talented cast, including LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, and Jamie Lee Curtis. LaKeith Stanfield brings emotional intensity to his role as a brainiac with a tragic past, but overall, the movie lacks in delivering real surprises or genuine scares.
The plot revolves around a group of likable eccentrics battling digital ghosts in the mansion, with Rosario Dawson’s character hoping to turn the haunted mansion into a bed-and-breakfast. Throughout the film, various product brands like Zillow are invoked, adding to the feeling of an extended promotional campaign. Though the cast performs well, the movie struggles to deliver a satisfying payoff, leaving critics and viewers wanting more substance and scares.
Despite the less-than-stellar reviews, the early audience reactions suggest that the film still manages to entertain some viewers. As with any release, individual preferences and tastes may vary, so there might be a silver lining for fans of the Haunted Mansion concept or Disney’s live-action adaptations. As the film hits theaters, audiences will have a chance to decide for themselves if the haunted mansion delivers on its spooky promise or if it’s just another branding venture from the House of Mouse.
As Haunted Mansion (2023) enters theaters, the divided reception from critics and early audience reactions leave fans curious to experience the eerie adventure for themselves. Despite the critical reviews, some viewers have found enjoyment in the film’s concept and charismatic cast.
Justin Simien, known for his insightful satire, stepped into the director’s chair for this ambitious project. While some critics express disappointment that a talented filmmaker like Simien would direct what appears to be a feature-length Disney promotion, others acknowledge that he manages to keep the movie moving along with the help of the appealing cast.
Leading the ensemble is LaKeith Stanfield, who brings a surprising level of emotional intensity to his character, Ben, a brainiac with a unique camera capable of photographing ghosts. However, the film’s setup fails to deliver a satisfying payoff, leaving the potential for a more thrilling and engaging storyline untapped.
Rosario Dawson’s performance as Gabbie, a single mother with dreams of opening a bed-and-breakfast in the mansion, receives mixed reactions. Some appreciate her efforts, while others feel her character’s arc follows a predictable path. Alongside Dawson, Owen Wilson portrays an oddball priest, Tiffany Haddish embodies a ditsy medium, and Danny DeVito portrays an excitable scholar, each adding their own quirks to the ragtag group of likable eccentrics.
The film’s attempts to incorporate humor and ghostly scares seem to fall short for some, especially when compared to previous classics like the “Ghostbusters” series. Critics find “Haunted Mansion” lacking in genuine frights and witty humor, causing it to pale in comparison to its predecessors.
One aspect that stands out is the impressive production design, recreating the eerie ambiance of the haunted mansion with great attention to detail. The setting is undoubtedly atmospheric, capturing the essence of Disney’s iconic theme-park attraction.
Despite the critical reception, “Haunted Mansion” still holds potential to entertain audiences looking for a lighthearted adventure with a spooky twist. For die-hard Disney fans or those seeking family-friendly escapades, the film may offer an enjoyable cinematic experience.
As the haunting tale unfolds on the big screen, it remains to be seen whether the positive early audience reactions can offset the critical backlash. Regardless, Haunted Mansion’s journey into the afterlife of box office success will be closely watched, and its legacy may continue to thrive among Disney enthusiasts and fans of the iconic attraction.