“A single mom named Gabbie hires a tour guide, a psychic, a priest, and a historian to help exorcise their newly bought mansion; after discovering it is inhabited by ghosts.”

Director: Justin Simien
Writer: Katie Dippold
Staring: Rosario Dawson, Winona Ryder, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Dan Levy, LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Hasan Minhaj
Release Date: July 28, 2023

On the surface, I am not interested in Haunted Mansion (2023). I am not a Disney parks guy and have only been on the ride once. From what I recall it was cool, but it’s not a foundational memory for me.

So why am i writing about Haunted Mansion if I don’t really have a desire to see it? Well, have you seen this cast?

Rosario Dawson, Winona Ryder, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jared Leto, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Dan Levy, LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, and Hasan Minhaj are some of the recognizable names. That crew right there is extensive. It took me by surprise. I was not looking for news on Haunted Mansion, so when the trailer dropped on Tuesday, May 16th, I was taken aback by the amount of familiar faces I saw in it.

Haunted Mansion is directed by Justin Simien, who is most known for his writing and directing on Dear White People (2014) the movie, Dear White People (2017) the television show, and Bad Hair (2020). His work has been primarily with black actors and actresses, shining a voice on the black culture while educating everyone of their vibes in unique ways. Simien is not the head writer on Haunted Mansion; that responsibility belongs to Katie Dippold, who is no stranger to bigger budget comedies.

Dippold got her break on Mad TV back in the mid 2000s before making her way to Parks and Recreation for 31 episodes at the turn of the decade. Over the last 10 years Dippold has written The Heat (2013), Ghostbusters (2016) and Snatched (2017). The first of her big picture projects was the most well received, and since then it has been tiny steps back. But now with Haunted Mansion, she has a chance for a massive summer blockbuster comedy hit, which is not easy feat to accomplish.

So what is this Haunted Mansion trailer about?

We know that Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) is a main focal point. She is a single mom trying to restart and she has done so by buying a new home. However, this mansion (if you will) has more than meets the eye.

The trailer hits the comedy notes hard and highlights the rag tag crew attempting to cleanse the mansion of the multiple shadows, spirits and souls. The Hat-Box Ghost, played by the perfectly casted Jared Leto, is the main antagonist and teaser of the heroes. He is the face of the evil that will be tossing projectiles and playing with the minds of their home’s occupants.

Gabbie, preacher Kent (Owen Wilson), ghost hunter Ben Matthias (LaKieth Stanfield), college professor (Danny DeVito) and psychic Harriet (Tiffany Haddish) are shown huddling and attempting to survive. Their chemistry will be important throughout the movie because much of it, and I would say the majority of it, is going to be a CGI fest.

Haunted Mansion doesn’t appear like my type of movie, but with the talents associated with it, you can’t ignore it. I am excited to see this cast try and mesh coherently, but I am not excited for the crazy amounts of special effects and CGI that appears to be in it. I know the ride has a lot of the thrusting virtual images tossed at the audience, but that ride lasts 10 minutes. This is going to be at least 90 minutes of it. That I am nervous about.

Haunted Mansion comes out to the public on July 28, 2023.

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