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The Haunted Mansion (2003) When you go into a movie called The Haunted Mansion , featuring Eddie Murphy and a lot of old-dark-house clichés, you expect, at the very… 2003-11-26 PT99M Comedy Kids and Family Mystery and Thriller Eddie Murphy Terence Stamp Jennifer Tilly Buena Vista Pictures
Movie Review

The Haunted Mansion (2003)

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Eddie Murphy, The Haunted Mansion | MURPHY'S FLAW ''Haunted Mansion'' is neither scary nor funny
Image credit: Haunted Mansion: Bruce McBroom
MURPHY'S FLAW ''Haunted Mansion'' is neither scary nor funny
EW's GRADE
D+

Details Release Date: Nov 26, 2003; Length: 99 Minutes; Genres: Comedy, Kids and Family, Mystery and Thriller; With: Eddie Murphy; Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures

When you go into a movie called The Haunted Mansion, featuring Eddie Murphy and a lot of old-dark-house clichés, you expect, at the very least, that Murphy will fire off a few amusing jabs at the spirit world. Instead, you get a moment like this: Wallace Shawn flying a horse-drawn carriage through a forest of electro-blue ghosts, at which point Murphy, seated in the back of the coach, lets loose the immortal line "Excuse me, why are all these ghosts still hanging around here?" I doubt Bob Hope could have squeezed a chuckle out of that one.

''The Haunted Mansion'' has the inconsequentiality of a horror-cheese comedy without, necessarily, the comedy. Unlike, say, ''Pirates of the Caribbean,'' this is one picture based on a Walt Disney theme-park ride that really aims to deliver...the ride. Murphy may still function as a hook for parents, but his plastic-grinned real estate agent, a genial noodge trapped, along with his wife and kids, in a creaky Victorian fun house, serves as our disappointingly neutral tour guide through a random play zone of kiddified CGI. There are floating musical instruments, a fighting skeleton or two, and Jennifer Tilly as a disembodied soothsayer with greenish skin who drops breathy pronouncements from inside her crystal ball. It should all work fine to amaze, or maybe just pacify, your 4-year-old, but ''The Haunted Mansion'' is tame and witless enough to make me long for the ancient, dusty fright kitsch of ''The Munsters.'' The one actor who escapes the family-friendly doldrums is Terence Stamp, cast as a manservant so cadaverous he looks like he could bust the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Originally posted Nov 25, 2003 Published in issue #740 Dec 05, 2003 Order article reprints