Haunted Mansion | Picturehouse Recommends

Provoking equal howls of delight and horror.

Ally Wybrew

07 Aug 23

Justin Simien

Release Date
11 Aug


Lakeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny Devito, Rosario Dawson, Chase W. Dillon, Dan Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto


Running Time
123 mins

Since the rollicking success of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, Disney has searched for cinematic tales inspired by its own theme park rides that can deliver the same level of thrills as their real-life counterparts.

Following on from The Country Bears, Tomorrowland and Jungle Cruise, Justin Simien's Haunted Mansion is set to recreate the heady highs of another classic Disney ride – this time with the emphasis on spooky spectacle. 

The Haunted Mansion ride opened in Disneyland in 1969 (and later appeared in Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland) and shuttled spectators into "doom buggies", before driving them through a series of creepy, ghost-riddled rooms.

It was an immediate hit and it's easy to see why it is fantastic source material for a family-friendly fright-a-thon.

Here, the tale follows single mum Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her nine-year-old son (Chase Dillon) who move into a palatial New Orleans pad and discover it is infested by restless spirits (the mist, cobwebs and "DO NOT ENTER" sign might have been a giveaway).

To help rid the impressive gaff of the ghouls, Gabbie enlists a colourful gang of so-called experts, who may or may not create more problems than they solve. 

Working in the film's favour is its high-calibre creative clout. Penned by Parks and Recreation and Ghostbusters (2016) wordsmith Katie Dippold and directed by Dear White People's Simien (who himself was a Disney cast member), Haunted Mansion's comedy-horror vibes are in the hands of a star-studded cast.

Ever a reliable deliverer of dry wit, LaKeith Stanfield is a down-on-his-luck tour guide, Owen Wilson is on board as an axe-swinging priest, Danny DeVito is a chatty if curmudgeonly history professor and Tiffany Haddish plays Harriet, a psychic for rent.

Always a great choice for any eccentric extrovert, Jared Leto lends his chiselled visage to certain paintings and his voice to CG spookster the Hatbox Ghost (heavily inspired by the theme park ride's sporadically appearing character), while Winona Ryder, Dan Levy and recent Oscar winner Jamie Lee Curtis round off a cracking line-up. 

With the footage at Disney Expo D23 going down a storm, Haunted Mansion is set to deliver creepy candlelit corridors, jump scares, floods of spectral green light and, if you know the theme park attraction, affectionate Easter eggs aplenty.

Provoking equal howls of delight and horror, it could become one of your family's new favourite haunts – literally.    Ally Wybrew

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Haunted Mansion is in cinemas from 11 Aug Book Now!