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Running Time:
98 minutes

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for frightening images, thematic elements and language

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
An unimaginative, gimicky comedy/thriller that's neither very funny or very scary, just a cute version of the Disney theme park ride.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Bloopers; Deleted scene; Raven "Superstition" music video; Haunted Mansion virtual tour; "Making the Mansion" behind-the-scenes featurette; Anatomy of a Scene: Ghosts in the Graveyard; Audio commentary with Don Hahn (producer), Jay Redd (visual effects supervisor) and David Berenbaum (writer); Hours of DVD-ROM content: Morphing Ghost Host Maker, The History of the Haunted Mansion Attraction, photo galleries, desktop themes/wallpaper/screensavers, enhanced Virtual Mansion Tour.

The Haunted Mansion
Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) and his wife, Sara (Marsha Thompson) are real estate agents. When Master Gracey (Nathaniel Parker), who died several centuries ago, calls Sara to tell her heís selling his mansion, he asks her to come and look over the place, but to come alone. Sara doesnít want to go, thinking Jim is devoting too much time to the business and not enough to the family, but he insists they stop by for a few minutes, on their way to a family outing, so they can get the listing. But instead of coming alone, as requested, Jim and their two children, Megan (Aree Davis) and Michael (Marc John Jefferies), go too, irritating both Gracey and his major domo, Ramsley (Terence Stamp). Soon they find that they're trapped inside the creepy place, and all sorts of things start to happen. Skeletons come alive, and they get trapped in secret passages, and they come upon a sassy talking head in a crystal ball (Jennifer Tilly). Amazingly, nobody gets very scared, not Jim, not Sara, and not the kids. None of this is very funny, although the film is loaded with all kinds of weirdness. Murphy made a couple of good films at the start of his film career. Both 48 Hours (1982), and Beverly Hills Cop (1984) were terrific, but he hasnít done much since that's noteworthy. Most of them were downright clunkers, like I Spy and Showtime. All he contributes here is a smiley face. But there are a couple of interesting actors in the cast. First there's Wallace Shawn, who's one of the more entertaining character actors around. He plays Ezra, a ghost. And Terence Stamp does his usual fine job as the gloomy/scary Ramsley. This is the third Disney movie based on one of its theme park rides. "The Country Bears," the first, was not so hot, but the second "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl'" was a surprisingly huge success. This one is definitely not that good, but it too will probably lure bring families into the parks, which are having a very hard time these days. So for Disney, it may be a fine marketing tool, and that's OK for them, but for us, it's just an accceptable way for a family to pass an hour and a half. Younger kids might be frightened by the scary images, but they are all played purely for laughs. Nothing the least bit offensive happens.

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