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MOVIE REVIEW

Haunted Mansion

also known as “The Haunted Mansion,” “Casa bântuită,” “Dinh Thự Ma Ám,” “Dvaras, kuriame vaidenasi,” “Dvorac straha,” “Geistervilla,” “Grad strahov,” “Kísértetkastély,” “La casa dei fantasmi,” “La maison hantée,” “Le manoir hanté,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for some thematic elements and scary action.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Moral Rating: Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: • Teens • Young-Adults
Genre: Supernatural-Horror Comedy Drama
Length: 2 hr. 2 min.
Year of Release: 2023
USA Release: July 28, 2023 (wide release—3,740 theaters)
DVD: October 17, 2023
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Too dark for a family film

What is the Occult?

The Occult—What does the Bible say about it?

What does the Bible say about ghosts?

What is a NECROMANCER? and what does the Bible say about this practice?

What is a soothsayer?

Learn about spiritual darkness versus light

What is DEATH? and WHY does it exist? Answer in the Bible

What is the FINAL JUDGMENT? and WHAT do you need to know about it? Answer

What is ETERNAL LIFE? and what does the Bible say about it?

What is ETERNAL DEATH?

About the final judgment

Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Featuring Rosario DawsonGabbie
LaKeith StanfieldBen Matthias
Owen WilsonFather Kent
Tiffany HaddishHarriet
Danny DeVitoBruce Davis
Jamie Lee CurtisMadame Leota, a soothsayer
Chase Dillon (Chase W. Dillon) … Travis
Jared LetoCrump / Hatbox
See all »
Director Justin Simien — “Dear White People” (Director)
Producer Walt Disney Productions
Rideback
See all »
Distributor Walt Disney PicturesWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Oh boy this is going to be a short review. Okay, here we go…

Ben Mattihas was an astrophysicist, a really good one in fact. During a work party one night he found the love of his life, Alyssa. She thinks he’s a bit goofy, and he thinks she is too, but together they can conquer the world. Eventually, the two decide to get married

Fast forward some time later. Alyssa is gone. In fact, she was killed in a car accident while picking up some items for her and Ben. Alyssa’s death changes Ben in all the wrong ways. He has given up the field of astrophysics, apart from creating his revolutionary and ever-popular Ghost Camera. Instead, he has taken to giving walking tours in downtown New Orleans.

As in all good movies, a visitor comes knocking on Ben’s door with an opportunity. This particular visitor is a priest named Father Kent (Owen Wilson). Father Kent informs Ben that a local family, Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis, have been receiving ghostly visitors and that these unwelcome guests are terrorizing the two. Father Kent tells Ben that he needs him to come to the mansion and take pictures using his Ghost Camera to try and figure out what’s going on. Ben is hesitant at first but once he hears the lady is offering $2,000, Ben decides to head to the mansion.

Gabbie greets Ben at the door but warns him, “Once you step through that door, there’s no going back. Your life will be changed forever.” Ben proceeds anyway and Grace is right… his life will never be the same.

Happy haunting…

A long time ago Disney used to stand for something. Disney was a standard that other production companies would look to. Disney offered clean, wholesome entertainment that rarely offended anyone. Parents could safely take their young ones to a Disney film and not worry what they were going to have to shield their children from. Those days feel like a distant memory.

Now we have Disney films that promote homosexual relationships, transexual relations and characters, where every film has to be as diverse and accepting as possible; darn to creating a historically accurate representation of the stories from which they draw (don’t even get me started on the Marvel films and their unfaithfulness to the original comics). Now, Disney films are getting darker and darker.

During my viewing of the “Haunted Mansion” and as I left the theater, all I could think of was what would Walt Disney think if he could see how far his company has fallen in almost 100 years. Well Alex, how dark can a film like “Haunted Mansion” get? Surely there must be limitations!

“The Haunted Mansion” has no limitations; everything is possible. “The Haunted Mansion” is absolutely smothered in incredibly dark occultic practices. There are multiple séances, one of the film’s main characters is a MEDIUM! Not only do these scenes occur, but they are praised in the film. They are shown as the ONLY solution to grief, to fighting demons and spirits, such as the use of a medium to fight the villain at the end of the film. Disney is sending a message: it’s okay to associate with mediums, psychics, reach out to the dead, conjure spirits. This is an INCREDIBLY dangerous message. Even Christianity is thought of as a joke in this film and mocked. The priest is of no use because, as it turns out *MINOR SPOILER* the Father is a big old fraud. *SPOILER END* Can you tell how angry I am about the film?

Content of Concern

VIOLENCE: A ghostly knight is shown chasing a mom and her son. There are two scenes where a character is tossed backwards (in one case a spear lands near his head). A flood occurs in this character’s house later, and he is tossed outside and almost hit by a car. We hear some victims were chopped up and beheaded by someone. We also hear about how two brothers shot each other and were killed. We hear about how someone was convinced to commit suicide inorder to be with his departed loved one again. Later, in a flashback, we witness a corpse lying flat on the ground after having committed suicide by poison. A ghost drags people in a chair out of the mansion (this occurs twice). A hatchet is thrown at a character twice. There is a conversation about how a dog was hit by a car and how it looked after being hit. We hear about Ben’s wife dying in a car accident. There is a story about how a man killed his guests at a party by poisoning their drinks and how the man himself was killed in revenge by others. An alligator chases two people. A ghost is seen being sent to Hell. Someone discusses someone’s else’s organs being on the outside of body.

OCCULT: Very Heavy to Extreme. The film starts with Madame Leota’s (a medium) voice telling the audience about the tale that is about to depicted (there’s also an image of tarot cards and a Ouija board). The group (the priest, Ben, Grace and Travis) hire a medium to help out. The group is later seen performing a séance (the priest included). There are a couple more séances. Some astro-projection occurs around the room (this is where a spirit supposedly leaves the body and floats around this limbo-like place watching what goes on below). A ghost possesses two different people. There are pictures and images of a man who used dark magic before he killed his guests. There is a third possession. There are discussions of spectral photography.

LANGUAGE: “Oh my g*d” (2), God’s name is misused several other times, “D*mn P*ssed” (1), and “Sh*t” is almost muttered by someone.

SEX: A tour guide is effeminate in behavior. She also references a cane in the corner of the room and says it is for very personal reasons (it could be because she has trouble walking, but I think this is likely a wink to the adults in the audience).

ALCOHOL: There are a couple scenes where characters are drinking.

NUDITY: A man’s shirt is seen slightly open

OTHER: Some of the ghosts and ghouls are very frightening in appearance. A priest says “money talks but don’t tell the big man.” A guy deceives someone for money. A ghost is seen writing on paper. A man has a heart attack.

Morals

At one point a character states that, “Ghosts aren’t real. We are dirt. I am dirt.” Indeed characters make little mention of the truth, that we are more than just dirt and bones. We are creations of the Almighty God designed for His purpose. Yes, there is something after this life we live. For those who believe and live for God and his son Jesus, that SOMETHING is eternal life in Heaven, where we will sit at the feet of Jesus and praise Him, where there is no more weeping or suffering or hunger—none of it. Jesus stated,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” —John 5:24

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” —John 6:40

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” —John 10:28-30

Final Thoughts

Well I think I’ve pretty much said all that needs saying about “The Haunted Mansion” There are many reasons to stay far away from this film apart from the occultic practices in play: the acting is average at best, the jokes are terrible, and it felt like “classic Disney faire.”

In case it isn’t clear, DO NOT take children to see the “Haunted Mansion.” It is a spiritually dangerous film for youngsters and teens, as well. In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s spiritually dangerous for all viewers, especially Christians. Find something much more edifying with your time.

  • Occult: Very Heavy
  • Violence: Heavy
  • Profane language: Moderately Heavy
  • Sex: Moderate
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Minor
  • Wokeism: Minor
  • Nudity: None

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

cinema tickets. ©  Alexey SmirnovEvery time you buy a movie ticket or buy or rent a video you are in effect casting a vote telling Hollywood, “I’ll pay for that. That’s what I want.” Read our article

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—As one of the only critics to leave a positive review of the film said, “It’s a Grim, Grinning good time!’ Haunted Mansion is a rollercoaster of fun, from the talented cast, to the cool effects, to the clever Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film! The story follows a mother named Gabby and her young son Travis as they move into an old mansion, obviously haunted. But when fleeing the old place doesn&rsquot;t work (the ghosts follow them wherever they go) they return to the mansion and enlist the help of a priest (Owen Wilson), a medium (Tiffany Haddish), a professor (Danny DeVito), and a grieving ex-ghost hunter (LaKeith Stanfield). But what if things aren’t what they seem in this old mansion? Are the ghosts really haunting them or do they just need help? And who is that shadowy ghost with the deep ominous voice who likes to carry his head in a hatbox? Hmm.…

So, let’s get the obvious out of the way. As you may have guessed, there are ghosts in this film. However, as most (if not all of them) were the spirits of passed humans and not demons, I personally did not find them offensive.See all »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Mia, age 21 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…Even for die-hard Disney fanatics, it’s still about as fun as waiting endlessly in line for something permanently closed for repairs. … It’s Lazy Emotional Manipulation 101. Disney, you can do better than this, even with something based on an amusement park staple. “Haunted Mansion” doesn’t have one-tenth of the wit or imagination of that decades-old attraction. …
David Fear, Rolling Stone
…‘Haunted Mansion’ makes Disney’s bummer summer worse… meandering story with few laughs… you’ll be happy for it to end. …
Christian Toto, Hollywood in Toto
…At times Simien’s film is surprisingly dark…
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
…An ugly, bloated, ungainly mess of shallow brand augmentation; a completely spiritless movie about spirits. …A movie like “Haunted Mansion” is always going to be, at its heart, a cinematic advertisement for the theme park, but couldn’t we at least run with that idea and make it fun? …
Trace Sauveur, Paste
…rarely funny …a boring mess. …[1.5 stars]
Lucas Trevor, Washington Post
…lame jokes… eventually feels as wearisome as riding the same ride over and over again. …
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
…joyless …Lakeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson and Jamie Lee Curtis cannot save this laborious story of a creepy old dwelling and the awful Hatbox Ghost. …[2/5]
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (UK)
…mostly a dispiriting experience…
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
…a woefully weak script by Katie Dippold… deathly dull…
Barry Hertz, The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
…frightfully unfunny …refrain from being the mortal foolish enough to enter in the first place. …
Luke Y. Thompson, The A.V. Club
…too long and lifeless… [2]
James Berardinelli, ReelViews