The Haunted Mansion (2003)

1h 39m / PG / Family Comedy

Under the guise of a happy family vacation, workaholic real-estate agent Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) drags his wife and business partner Sara (Marsha Thomason) and their two children to the sweaty Louisiana bayou, trying to land what appears to be a lucrative business deal. Hoping to put a gloomy, dilapidated old mansion on the market, the Evers decide to spend the night at the estate as guests of the cryptic proprietor, Master Gracey, and his cadaverous butler, Ramsley (Terence Stamp). However, there’s more to this place than meets the eye — and as the entire manor oozes with frightening manifestations of the supernatural, the family will have no other choice but to entrust their lives to its otherworldly guardian, Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly). Will the Evers escape from the haunted mansion in one piece?

Chronologically, The Haunted Mansion is the fourth feature film based on a Disney theme park attraction, after Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, The Country Bears and (believe it or not), Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars. Not a bad list to be the second-most successful on, considering the incomprehensible amount of money Pirates made! A dark, funny family romp with great Rick Baker makeup and a solid late-career Eddie Murphy performance, The Haunted Mansion has become a nostalgic favorite among the now-grown-ups who saw it as kids, and a whole new generation of little ones who love being gently spooked.