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Disney’s Haunted Mansion reboot was fun

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My wife and I sat down and watched Disney’s Haunted Mansion this evening, not to be confused with the 2003 version that starred Eddie Murphy.

Overall, I liked it. The story held together well enough, and the cast did a good job. Lakeith Stanfield plats Ben, an astrophysicist who loses his wife and spirals into defeated life and just getting along. Rosario Dawson and Chase Dillon play a mother and son who buy a mansion only to discover it is haunted. Ben, in an effort to prove ghosts are real develops a camera that will photograph spirits. He gets dragged into the mansion by Father Kent (played by Owen Wilson) as an ‘expert’ who can lay to rest the new homeowners fears by showing them the ghosts in the house and then helping to exorcise them. Along the way, a medium named Harriet (played by Tiffany Haddish) and a history professor with his own interest in the mansion (played by Danny Devito) get pulled into the shenanigans.

There are plenty of ghosts in the house, yet they are all afraid of one ghost in particular, the Hatbox Ghost (played by Jared Leto) who has nefarious plans of his own.

There were plenty of nods to the Haunted Mansion attraction at DisneyWorld (the stretching paintings, the ghosts dancing in the ballroom, etc. – I don’t want to spoil them all for you.) It can be fun just watching the movie to find the easter eggs.

I was surpised to find out Jamie Lee Curtis played Madame Leota, or rather her head floating in the crystal ball. I saw her name in the opening credits but did not recognize her in the film. Second time that has happened, the first being Captain Hook played by Dennis Hoffman in Hook. Watched the whole movie and never realized it was Dennis Hoffman.

Overall the movie has enough going on to keep you interested but being Disney, there’s not a lot of really scary stuff in it. Kids could watch this and not have nightmares, well, maybe small kids might, but there is the requisite happy ending so they’ll probably be all right.

If you are looking for some spooky family entertainment this Hallowe’en, you might want to give this movie a try.

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