Disney's Haunted Mansion reviews are grim with little ghoulish delight

HAUNTED MANSION. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
HAUNTED MANSION. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Disney's newest Haunted Mansion movie, an adaptation of the beloved theme park attraction, is set to hit theaters on July 28. With just a few days until its release, reviews have started to hit the web. After a string of poorly received movies, is Haunted Mansion the rebound Disney desperately needs?

What are critics saying about the 2023 Haunted Mansion movie?

As of this writing, Haunted Mansion currently sits at a "rotten" 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. While there are some positive write-ups among the 84 current reviews posted, most are generally negative.

The critics' consensus praises the talented cast for making the movie watchable and "pleasant enough," but the general consensus is that it's neither spooky nor scary enough.

"This version, directed by Justin Simien and written by Katie Dippold is worlds better than the Eddie Murphy disaster, but it’s not really fun, spooky or engaging enough to make much of an impression beyond the moment," writes Lindsey Bahr from the Associated Press.

Others criticize the film's lack of originality. I know it's based on an already-existing attraction, but it doesn't seem to bring anything new or imaginative to the table.

"Haunted Mansion doesn’t have one-tenth of the wit or imagination of that decades-old attraction," writes Rolling Stone's David Fear.

Those who are die-hard fans of the Haunted Mansion attraction could still possibly find enjoyment in the movie as it seems to feature plenty of references. However, ScreenCrush's Matt Singer notes that the movie is "So possessed with recreating the ride’s details that it misses a bit of its spirit."

On the bright side, the movie's 46% on Rotten Tomatoes is a much better score than the 2003 version that starred Eddie Murphy. The 2003 Haunted Mansion film scored just a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 31% Audience Score.

So it sounds like there is some enjoyment to be had with the movie. It's still not the home run that Haunted Mansion fans want or Disney needs though.

Having just returned from Disney World, I was excited about the prospect of a new Haunted Mansion movie, but it sounds like this one might best be saved for Disney+. It's unfortunate with how iconic the ride is that Disney has struggled to successfully adapt it into a good movie.