Disney has given us several movies based on its theme park rides over the years. And when Justin Simien’s Haunted Mansion hits theaters July 28, it won’t be the first time this particular attraction has been depicted on the big screen. Eddie Murphy starred in The Haunted Mansion in 2003, and then the Muppets took a swing just a couple of years ago with 2021’s Muppets Haunted Mansion. Now, the upcoming Disney movie has held its premiere, and those who were able to attend an advance screening are hitting social media with their first reactions.
This time around it’ll be Rosario Dawson leading an iconic cast that also includes LaKeith Stanfield, Owen Wilson, Tiffany Haddish, Jamie Lee Curtis and more. From what we know about Haunted Mansion — and what’s shown in the Disney film’s trailer — audiences can expect plenty of laughs peppered into the spooky imagery, but let’s see what those who have seen the movie are saying.
Jazz Tangcay of Variety confirms there are plenty of laughs and jump scares in the film, but tweets that the movie’s portrayal of loss and grief was unexpected: Did not expect #HauntedMansion to be a study of loss and grief, but Justin Simien delivers the better adaptation of the beloved ride through his storytelling. Lots of laughs and plenty of jumps. Kris Bowers’ score is a delight, top notch production design. Fab cast.
Shannon McGrew of Nightmarish Conjuring agrees the film is filled with heart, and she credits the writing of Katie Dippold. Dippold’s background is in comedy, working on Mad TV and Parks and Recreation before penning The Heat with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, as well as the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters. That humor is apparent, as McGrew also notes that Haunted Mansion walks a thin line between humorous and spooky: I’m still gathering my thoughts on #HauntedMansion but I will say this, the amount of heart it has couldn’t have been achieved without the writing of Katie Dippold. She weaves together a story that tackles death/grief in a palpate way while riding a fine line btwn humor/horror.
POC Culture tweets that fans of the theme park are going to love this flick, assuring movie-goers that it pays homage to the famous Disney ride with plenty of easter eggs. However, the thread continues to say the movie’s plot is unnecessarily bloated: I got to watch the #HauntedMansion (before the strike). It’s a love letter to the iconic Disney ride & a family friendly thriller. The cast, led by LaKeith Stanfield, is outstanding & hilarious. Full of fun cameos, references to the ride & a healthy dose of jump scares.
Russ Milheim of The Direct agrees with the opinion above, saying Haunted Mansion is not without its faults but is a love letter to the ride that will bring fans much joy: So, I got to see #HauntedMansion . While I think it often falters throughout its runtime, it’s clearly a visual love letter to the iconic ride—something fans will get endless enjoyment out of.
Steven Weintraub of Collider notes that this movie will scare the kids and entertain adults, which might make it a good gateway horror option in a summer that’s filled with family friendly options at the theater. He tweets: Happy to report #HauntedMansion is one of those family films that will spook kids, make adults laugh (a lot), and fans of the ride will keep pointing at the screen because it’s loaded with Easter eggs. Director Justin Simien & screenwriter Katie Dippold did great work.
Kristen Lopez of The Wrap calls this latest theme park ride adaptation wonderful, specifically shouting out the visual effects and the score from Academy Award nominee Kris Bowers. Lopez writes: #HauntedMansion is wonderful. LaKeith Stanfield anchors a spooky yet melancholic look at grief. Beautiful VFX and Kris Bowers score is fantastic.
So far, it seems like those who’ve screened Haunted Mansion agree that lovers of the ride are going to enjoy this movie. It also sounds like a good one to bring the family too, since the jump scares will be balanced out by plenty of laughs. If this sounds like one that you’re interested in, the movie is set to hit the big screen on Friday, July 28. Also be sure to check out our schedule of 2023 new movie releases to see what other big summer releases are heading to theaters soon.