Inspired by the classic theme park attraction, “Haunted Mansion” is about a woman and her son who enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters. The film’s producers are Dan Lin and Jonathan Eirich, with Nick Reynolds and Tom Peitzman serving as executive producers. Directed by Justin Simien, the film features an all-star cast ensemble cast including LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Chase W. Dillon and Dan Levy, with Jamie Lee Curtis and Jared Leto as The Hatbox Ghost.
KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ari P. comments, “If Halloween is the perfect holiday for you, then buckle up for Haunted Mansion! The acting and humor are just as riveting as the special effects involved.” Kennedy P. adds, “This film—inspired by the classic Disney theme park attraction—is so funny, and the cast is outstanding… There are a few jump scares and even some emotional moments. I love Haunted Mansion.” Sydney S. comments, “I love the movie, Haunted Mansion! It’s based on Disneyland’s theme park attraction, and its perfect mix of horror, comedy, and emotional scenes kept me intrigued throughout the whole movie.” Katherine S. wraps it up with, “Based on the beloved attraction at Disneyland, it has a great mix of comedy and scariness, which makes this a “gateway movie” to horror films for kids. As this is the second attempt to create a movie out of this ride, I am thrilled to say that this movie is “terrifyingly” good.” See their full reviews below.
By Ari P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
If Halloween is the perfect holiday for you, then buckle up for Haunted Mansion! The acting and humor are just as riveting as the special effects involved. There are so many memorable moments, from spooky ghosts to joyful laughs to heartbroken tears.
The storyline begins in New Orleans, Louisiana, with single mom Gabbie (Rosario Dawson), and her son Travis (Chase Dillon) moving into a new mansion. As as soon as they step into the house, weird things start to happen. Soon, they rely on ghost tour leader, Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), who is currently grieving from his wife’s death, to help. They also gather together Father Kent (Owen Wilson), psychic Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), and Historian and Professor Bruce Davis (Danny DeVito) to catch a ghost named Alistair Crump (Jared Leto). As they work together to catch this evil ghoul, they grow a closer bond and begin to trust each other with secrets and hidden truths.
This film is based on the attraction at Disneyland, and it is definitely spooky. The humor is abundant, and it comes at spontaneous times. One example is when Harriet, Ben, Kent, Travis and Gabbie are getting ready to perform a seance, and Kent tells the group he wants to say a prayer, then says, “God, give us a break!”— perfect comedic relief in the scene.
The special effects also blow me away, especially the CGI. And I love Jared Leto’s character, Alistair Crump, and all of the effects, especially his sharp chin and creepy grin. The ghosts done in CGI are great and seem to me so real! When Ben enters the ghost world, you see all of these ghosts go into the floor, through walls, and more, which is so cool. Alongside all of this, the chemistry between the characters and actors works incredibly well. I especially love the friendship between Kent and Bruce, since it is so pleasing to see how well they get along.
The message of this film is no matter what life throws at you, friends will always be there by your side. Note that the film contains mild profanity, jump scares, scary action, and references to death.
I give Haunted Mansion 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, including adults. This movie will be released in theaters on July 28, 2023, and later in the year to Disney+, just in time for the scary season.
Disney’s Haunted Mansion
By Kennedy P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9
Welcome Foolish Mortals to Disney’s Haunted Mansion! This film—inspired by the classic Disney theme park attraction—is so funny, and the cast is outstanding… There are a few jump scares and even some emotional moments. I love Haunted Mansion.
Disney’s Haunted Mansion is about a single mom named Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her 9-year-old son, Travis (Chase W. Dillon), who move into a New Orleans mansion filled with long-buried secrets and several unpleasant ghosts. Hoping to cleanse the house of the evil, Gabbie hires a team of experts to help.
This family-friendly film is full of heart, laughter, chills and thrills. The film is loaded with Easter eggs from the attraction. Pay attention if you dare because the movie has so many fun cameos and references in it. The movie takes you on a ride full of light scares mixed with plenty of humor throughout. The production was filmed in New Orleans and the setting looks so authentic and very spooky. The use of CGI to create the ghosts throughout the movie is outstanding. They look like they are really flying throughout the mansion.
My favorite part, without giving away the ending, is when a cat appears on the doorstep of a house, and they share the name of the cat—it has a very special meaning to the movie, and it was so sweet.
The film’s message is about the importance of family. There is so much chemistry with the different characters that you can feel it through the big screen. They all connect to find a way out, and in the process find deeper layers to themselves. They all start out as individuals dealing with their own problems, insecurities, and troubles, but wind up coming together as a family by providing one another with exactly what they have been missing all along.
I give Haunted Mansion 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. You can see Haunted Mansion in theaters July 28, 2023.
By Sydney S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13
I love the movie, Haunted Mansion! It’s based on Disneyland’s theme park attraction, and its perfect mix of horror, comedy, and emotional scenes kept me intrigued throughout the whole movie.
The plot follows a mother and son who move to a mansion to start a new life. However, soon mysterious and spooky things happen in the house. They have no choice but to contact spirit experts to hopefully put an end to the ghostly encounters.
The main characters are Ben (LaKeith Stanfield), Gabbie (Rosario Dawson), Travis (Chase Dillon), Father Kent (Owen Wilson), Harriet (Tiffany Haddish), and Bruce (Danny DeVito). These are all wonderful actors that made me believe the story is real. The characters make strong interactions with each other, and I love the energy throughout the movie. They exemplify teamwork to help each other get rid of the ghosts haunting them—you could say they’re the dream team! The animation is wonderful and the ghosts look realistic. Since it’s live-action, the contrast between humans and ghosts can look rough, but the transitions are smooth. When Ben and Gabbie are being chased by supernaturals, the ghosts look extremely real (or what I’d expect a ghost to look like). Additionally, the music changes dramatically as the scenes do, and so do the characters’ emotions. When Ben is thinking about his past and his regrets, for example, the music is soft and slow. However, when Harriet begins to talk with the dead, the music becomes eerie and dark.
My favorite part of the film is the sets and locations. This movie was based on the Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland, so it’s incredible to see it come to life. The sets look spectacular and give a very creepy vibe. The lighting plays an important role in making the house look haunted, too. Another part of the movie I really like is the character of Travis. He’s a young boy that lost his father. He is lonely, and being haunted by spirits can be a lot for a kid to handle. Lastly, the comedy in this film ties it all together. The jokes are hilarious, and, overall, it’s the perfect combination of horror and comedy.
The message of this film is to live life to the fullest and to prioritize happiness. It also mentions the theme that it’s okay to let go. Some scenes are quite scary, so that’s something to look out for.
I give Haunted Mansion 4.5 out of 5 stars, and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Haunted Mansion releases in theaters July 28, 2023.
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15
I really enjoyed Haunted Mansion. Based on the beloved attraction at Disneyland, it has a great mix of comedy and scariness, which makes this a “gateway movie” to horror films for kids. As this is the second attempt to create a movie out of this ride, I am thrilled to say that this movie is “terrifyingly” good.
When Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and Travis (Chase Dillon), a single mom and her son, discover their newly-purchased mansion is haunted by ghosts, they team up with an eclectic group of people to rid the ghosts from their house: a rude tour guide (LaKeith Stanfield), a questionably competent medium (Tiffany Haddish), a non-traditional priest (Owen Wilson), and a peculiar historian (Danny DeVito). However, they soon realize it’s way more complicated to get rid of the ghosts, and that their situation is graver than they could ever have imagined.
I recently went to Disneyland in California and – of course – went on the aforementioned Haunted Mansion ride. And since that experience is still fresh on my mind, I picked up on so many references to it while watching this movie. Some of the lines, characters, objects and places come straight out of the ride. And for any Disney amusement park fans, like me, you’ll notice that the mansion in this movie more closely resembles the one in Disneyland compared the one in Disney World. Most of ghosts in this movie are not overly realistic, which makes it more fit and less scary for a younger audience. I like this aspect, but I do love scary ghosts, and Jared Leto’s ghost is pretty ghoulish.
The cast really pulls this move together. Owen Wilson as Father Kent, Tiffany Haddish as Harriet, and Danny DeVito as Bruce make Haunted Mansion hilarious with all their funny lines and different personalities. LaKeith Stanfield, who plays Ben, brings the film down to earth with his emotions and relatability. My favorite character is definitely Harriet because you never know what to expect from her next. This movie does drag on a bit in the middle but closes strong.
I expected that this movie would be somewhat lighthearted, funny, and a bit scary. However, Haunted Mansion has some surprisingly deep messages. It talks about dealing with grief and social anxiety, which I think will be positive for children to see. This movie might be too scary for young children or sensitive people.
I give Haunted Mansion 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. If you love the Haunted Mansion ride, I encourage you to go see it. Haunted Mansion comes out in theaters July 28, 2023.