The Haunted Mansion (2003)

Rating: **
Release Date: 11/26/03
Makeup Effects: Rick Baker
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, Marsha Thomason, Jennifer Tilly

This final film in Disney's bizarre trilogy of theme park ride inspired films is the kind of innocuous family fluff you'd expect from Disney. It's neither scary or funny, is light on drama, and heavy on cliché and political correctness. Fans of the theme park attraction will delight in seeing the Haunted Mansion recreated for the big screen, as the ghosts and effects are quite wonderful to watch. And if you're not a big fan of the ride, then the only other reason to watch the film is to see the lovely Marsha Thomason. Whoa... She is amazingly beautiful.

Anyway, the story and execution is about as generic as they get. Jim and Sara Evers (Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason) decide to take the kids on a family vacation and decide to stop at the Gracey Mansion along the way to handle some business. Unfortunately, the mansion is haunted by restless spirits and sinister machinations are at work under the guise of the house butler, Ramsley (Terence Stamp). The family must work together to break the curse of the mansion and free the tormented souls from their purgatory. The visuals are quite lush and the film is fun to watch for the most part. When things start getting tense in the second half of the film, the film attempts to compensate by increasing the amount of screwball comedy. While this might be fine for younger viewers (MUCH younger viewers), I just found it annoying.