HAUNTED MANSION opens July 28th
From PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN to JUNGLE CRUISE, rides and attractions from Disney theme parks have inspired a whole lot of big screen fun, and the latest title to join the special canon is HAUNTED MANSION, from director Justin Simien (DEAR WHITE PEOPLE) and screenwriter Katie Dippold (SPY, GHOSTBUSTERS). The new blockbuster is based on what is arguably the most spooky experience in either Disneyland or Disney World, and it is a comedy-heavy horror movie that, like the ride, can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages in theatres. Set in New Orleans, HAUNTED MANSION centers on a group of characters – an astrophysicist, a priest, a historian, and a psychic – who are all brought together by a mother and son who have moved into the titular house and are desperate to see it rid of its many, many ghosts. This is no easy task, however, as the evil Hat Box Ghost who resides in the home has a sinister plan that puts all of the protagonists in mortal danger.
A Talented Lineup Of Stars
Playing the creepy Hat Box Ghost in HAUNTED MANSION is Oscar-winner Jared Leto (DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, MORBIUS), and the film gives him an all-star lineup of performers to haunt. Rosario Dawson (RENT, SIN CITY) and up-and-comer Chase Dillon play the mother and son who discover their new home is haunted, and the help they enlist delivers both drama and great laughs.
LaKeith Stanfield (KNIVES OUT, SORRY TO BOTHER YOU) brings emotional weight to the film as a cynical astrophysicist stuck in a depression following the death of his wife – but he also has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments like the rest of the cast. Filling out the main supporting cast is Owen Wilson (MARRY ME, WEDDING CRASHERS) as Father Kent, Tiffany Haddish (GIRLS TRIP, LIKE A BOSS) as the psychic Harriet, and Danny DeVito (BATMAN RETURNS, MATILDA) as historian Bruce Davis. Altogether, they make an odd but exceptionally lovable team.
Also playing a special role and adding to HAUNTED MANSION’s horror cred is legendary scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis (HALLOWEEN, KNIVES OUT). In the film she plays Madame Leota, a legendary mystic trapped in a crystal ball whom the characters seek out for help in defeating the Hat Box Ghost.
Scary (But Not Too Scary)
Going to see your first horror movie as a kid is a memory that you hold on to, and there is a tremendous legacy of family-friendly titles that help ease younger viewers into the beloved genre. There are classics like HOCUS POCUS and BEETLEJUICE, and more recent treats like GOOSEBUMPS and THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. Director Justin Simien’s HAUNTED MANSION is a proper addition to this special catalog – being spooky but never too scary. One of the things Simien spoke about when talking about the film was the story and not shying away from the things that are dark and scary...
The ghosts and their ghostly antics – along with a few moments of peril and a handful of jump scares – will inspire some shrieks, wide-eyes, and fast heart beats from younger viewers, but the movie never gets too extreme. HAUNTED MANSION aims to scare and startle but not horrify.
Helping to balance out the darker moments is plenty of light-hearted silliness mixed in. Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, and Danny DeVito all deliver goofy and lovable turns that perpetually deliver smiles, and their charm and charisma make the ride as fun as it is frightening.
For All Audiences
Kids will enjoy the spooky atmosphere, the cinematic jolts, silly characters, and physical humor in HAUNTED MANSION, but there is plenty for adults to enjoy in the film as well. For starters, the jump scares and comedy are not exclusively for the young ones, as adults will find plenty of thrills and laughs packed into the two-hour runtime, but the movie also has both an engaging story and executes some thoughtful worldbuilding.
At the core of the script is a mystery that puts the characters on an adventure built around a special mythology that explains how the eponymous HAUNTED MANSION became haunted to begin with. There is also plenty of awesome production design and cool effects work for cinephiles to marvel at.
Also certainly not to be forgotten in the mix are those who are going into the experience hoping for it to feel like their favorite Disney ride – young and old alike. There is no question that the filmmakers who have made HAUNTED MANSION are a part of this collection of fans. In addition to the plot being built around standout details from the ride and the whole house being modeled after the original park attraction, there are Easter eggs everywhere for die-hards to spot (so many that you may need multiple viewings to catch all of them).
HAUNTED MANSION is a scream for movie-goers of all ages and will exclusively be playing on the big screen. Add a sprinkle of the Halloween spirit into your summer fun by heading to your local AMC Theatre and seeing the new Disney blockbuster.
HAUNTED MANSION opens July 28th