The Haunted Mansion (2023), a film by |


Remember, it was 2004: Eddie Murphy was a real estate agent who had to live with a series of wacky ghosts in The Haunted Manor and the 999 ghosts, a delirious family comedy that was a major critical failure when it was released. In 2010, Guillermo del Toro was chosen to write and produce a brand new adaptation of the famous Disneyland attraction “The Haunted Mansion”, with a film that should have been banned for children under 13 (PG-13) in the United States. United. The scenario will end up changing hands several times, before finally being reworked by a new screenwriter, Katie Dippold, in order to reach the greatest number of spectators.

With this Haunted Mansion new generation, Justin Simien, thinking head of the series Dear White People for Netflix, once again seizes the attraction by lining up an all-star cast, juggling between old glories that have rebounded in recent years (Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny DeVito and Winona Ryder) and new hopefuls affirming their uniqueness in Hollywood, Lakeith Stanfield in the lead. For almost ten years, the actor has managed to climb the ladder by interpreting the roles of a tall man lost in the human cosmos, like the funny Darius in the series Atlanta or the weird telemarketer from Sorry to Bother You. He is here the main interest of this new live-action blockbuster made in Disney, imposing his eminently personal touch in a film which hesitates to find his own, helped by his physical size and his destructive charm, using his body as could make Buster Keaton in the early 1920s.

Behind this performance, however, there is not much to get your teeth into. By dint of wanting to address as wide an audience as possible, the film struggles to find a tone that fully characterizes it. The humor, constantly winded, is imbued with a childish character, based on comic situations intended to make the youngest laugh, contrasting with a horrifying tone which relies on jumpscares, sequences of incredible chases, and questions around professions of clairvoyants, specialists and other swindlers.

And if the first part of this Haunted Mansion arouses curiosity, reminiscent of this fashion from the 1980s band film with the sauce Goonies And Breakfast Club, his dark second half in a sadly messy show, where each actor plays frankly, Owen Wilson in the lead in the role of a priest who is more of a crook than a Catholic, and Tiffany Haddish as an eccentric clairvoyant pushing the humorous line to the limit. In the end, it’s better to go back for a ride in the Disneyland Paris attraction.

Yohan Haddad

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