Today’s Prayer Focus

The Haunted Mansion

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for frightening images, thematic elements and language
not reviewed
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Comedy, Kids Family and Suspense/Horror
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
Copyright, Disney Copyright, Disney Copyright, Disney Copyright, Disney Copyright, Disney
Relevant Issues

FEAR, Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say? Answer

Starring: Eddie Murphy, n, Jennifer Tilly, Marsha Thomason, Nathaniel Parker | Directed by: Rob Minkoff | Produced by: Don Hahn, Andrew Gunn | Distributor: Disney

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: A man and his family encounter a ghost while visiting a haunted house during a job interview. He learns the value of family. Based upon the Disney theme park attraction.

Viewer Comments
Negative—I went to this movie expecting a lighthearted comedy, when instead I found a rather scary, and evil-feeling film. The presence of ghosts isn’t what bothered me, the power that the evil butler exerts over the wife (and others) is what I found disturbing. These evil spirits have quite a bit of power, and the “good” guys seem weak and helpless through much of the movie. The butler lures the family to the mansion with the purpose of using the wife (who looks like the dead fiancee) to set his master free by marrying her to this him, but he needs to kill her first. The “good” character is a talking head in a crystal ball. If I remember right, the movie ends on a “good” note when the woman/wife is possessed. I suppose at the very end the existence and power of God are somewhat acknowledged. On the whole though, this movie seemed inspired by evil. Too much evil spiritual power for my taste.
My Ratings: [Average/2]
Nathan Parker, age 24
Negative—When I first learned that Disney had made a movie called “The Haunted Mansion,” I was anxious to see it since I really enjoy that ride at Disneyland. Yet, after seeing this film, I am not sure that there is any audience age for whom I would recommend it, and I certainly would not suggest that any child under the age of 15 see it. I believe that adults will find this film’s plot bland, while younger children will find its frightening images nightmare-inducing. There is one scene at the end where one of the characters is pulled into hell, and it is very disturbing. I would not want ANY child to see that scene, and there are other scenes that would be very upsetting to children as well. At the end of the movie, the message seems to be that if you are a bad person that you go to hell and that if you seem like a good person that you go to heaven. While heaven is mentioned by name, God is never even alluded to by any of the characters. Besides the frightening scenes there are a couple of very subtle sexual references and a few profanities in the movie as well. While “The Haunted Mansion” offers some fun moments and does show the cohesiveness of the Evers family through a myriad of supernatural perils, the violence, frightening scenes of dead bodies and hell, and the misguided spiritual message should be enough to deter families from seeing this film.
My Ratings: [Average/2½]
Matt, age 35
Negative—After seeing this year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, I was hopeful that Disney would treat the Haunted Mansion with the same care. Unfortunately, I found this movie to be quite the disappointment. Sure, there were some great references to the ride, particularly the singing busts. Nathaniel Parker, who played Master Gracey, was quite convincing, but Eddie Murphy’s slick character was a bit over the top (and not in the good Johnny Depp way). The zombies that appeared during a 10-15 min. segment of the movie were way too intense for the little ones and were much more frightening than the skeletal pirates. What bothered me the most was the ending to the film. Not only was the plot confusing, but one of the characters wished them all to hell. Definitely not the quality of film one would expect from Disney!
My Ratings: [Average/3]
Susan, age 26
Negative—My husband and I took our 13 year old son and 6 of his buddies to see the Haunted Mansion as part of his birthday party. We expected it to be scary “Disney-style,” but thought that 13 would be age appropriate. The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World has always been one of our favorites, and thought the movie would follow that sort of theme: startling and spooky, but in a family oriented kind of way. Up until the ending it seemed to do just that—except for the Tarot Cards passed off “benignly” in the beginning of the movie (definitely noticed by us, but not so much by the boys). The turn from harmless spookiness to the demonic comes at the ending where “hell” opens up and clearly a hideous dragon face appears in the flames and swallows up the main wicked character—almost expecting cheers from the audience as it frees all the other “souls” to now ascend into heaven. I felt VERY uncomfortable and even more so because I had brought children (adolescents and pre-teens!) to this Disney film. Leaves us wondering, who exactly are Disney films designed for these days anyway?
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
Sue, age 39
Negative—I didn’t see the movie, my 7 year old daughter did, unfortunately, at a friend’s house (w/out my knowledge). It is not for children! She was very upset by the graphic scenes and said it was far scarier than “Pirates of The Carribean” (another “oops” movie we should have reviewed 1st!). She said “horror” describes the whole movie and I feel that doesn’t emphasize Christian values-or any values for parents. Funny-scary is one kind of combination that works, but my 7 year old’s one word summary, “horror”, is definitely not worth the two hours. I would have to watch the movie to see if it were appropriate for older children.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/2]
Mary Ann Steinacker-Grimm, age 28
Neutral—Certainly there were definitely elements objectionable in this film. I too noted the way that tarot cards in the beginning were made to look innocent, as was the crystal ball gypsy—both of which are forbidden as acceptable means of discerning the future. Also, while the butler got his just dues, I too had issue with the fact that salvation by Christ wasn’t even brought up—all the “good” guys went to heaven.

But I don’t think it’s completely fair to neglect all the positive elements this film portrays. First of all, Jim Evers learned some valuable lessons about family and that money definitely IS NOT the most important thing (we need this message in this materialistic world these days!) Also, it would be very unjust to forget that truth is portrayed positively in that the master of the house learns the truth about his fiance’s death. If nothing else, look at it this way: the ending is certainly a good way to enter into a conversation with a non-believer and let them know that Christ is the only way to salvation.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
Nathan Dempsey, age 23
Comments from young people
Negative—This movie was incredibly BORING! They made it seem good on TV, but the movie doesn’t have a plot, or anything interesting.
My Ratings: [Average/1]
Ileana Ortiz, age 11
Negative—I didn’t really enjoy this movie! First of all it it should be rated PG-13! It was really confusing at times! I am 12, and I thought it was a little scary! I mean I thought if I can watch Lord of the rings I can watch this! (I was wrong!)…
My Ratings: [Average/2]
Lindsay, age 12
Neutral—The only reason I went to go see this one was because I had a free ticket, and that’s about my only consolation. It was a typical of what Disney’s shelling out these days—which is to say, not what they used to be. There were a few “mild” profanities, the worst of which being a literal damning to hell; there was no sex or nudity and the violence was comparatively minimal. The ghosts weren’t too scary, but the movie deserved a PG-13 rating for the VERY scary-looking zombies—comparable to the undead pirates from “Pirates of the Carribean”, only fleshier. Definitely not a kid’s movie. And apparently, you CAN take it with you.
My Ratings: [Average/3]
R.J., age 17
Positive—…Todays age you are not going to find a PERFECT family film that is going to be appropriate and entertaining for everyone in the family. My eight year old sister had no problem with the zombies and ghosts. My parents are very cautious of what we watch, and we don’t get to see a lot of what we want on TV. They thought it was an acceptable movie. Kids under the age of eight may not do well with this kind of movie. But I thought it was fine.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/3]
Billy, age 14
Movie Critics
…You don’t have to sit through much of the awful “The Haunted Mansion” before you realize Eddie Murphy isn’t going to pull off what Johnny Depp did for “Pirates of the Caribbean.” …Compared with sitting through this, snaking through a 90-minute line at Disney World would feel like sweet relief. …
Ben Nuckols, Associated Press
…an efficient, reasonably enjoyable factory product that should scare a 9-year-old just enough and be gone from his or her memory by dinnertime…
Ty Burr, Boston Globe
…In an extraordinary display of chutzpah, the words “Welcome foolish mortals” open Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Haunted Mansion,” …The foolish mortals, of course, would be those who pay $9 a ticket at the door…
Robert K. Elder, Chicago Tribune
…The sets and costumes are tasty eye candy, but the effects are weak and Murphy zombie-walks through this…
E! Online
…It’s dull, childish, and uninspired…
James Berardinelli, ReelViews
…laughs and scares are both scarce… stiff, stock cliches …by-the-numbers script…
Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
…Some brief, non-explicit sexually related talk is present, as is a view of The Lovers tarot card that shows a drawing of a fully nude woman and man…
…questionable elements are kept to a minimum…
Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…Haunt some other holiday movie, this Mansion’s no bargain.
Steven Isaac, Plugged In