Eddie Murphy has always known how to do all the theatrics hasn’t he?
Well before I get into this film, I just have to say how intricate this film is embedded into my childhood. It was one of my first DVDs. I watched it all the time, and it used to terrify me. The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney, CA was mine and my dad’s favorite, and the memories I share with this film are very close to my heart. Young me loves this film. Older me loves the nostalgia of this film, but she also now realizes it’s not that great for a few acting and plot missteps. Nonetheless, this film is an endearing classic to me that helped shape my love for horror films for years to come.
Eddie Murphy and Marsha Thomason play Jim and Sara Evers of "Evers and Evers Real Estate." They have two beautiful, black children, and they make up a loving family. However, Jim has been too obsessed with work that he placed his familial duties on the back burner, so he decides to take his family on a camping trip to make up for some lost time. BUT not before he drags them all out to the middle of nowhere to check out a new listing they can possibly obtain. The thing about this listing is it is only occupied of trapped ghosts whom all passed away centuries before. It's built with a literal graveyard in its backyard, and the homes owner wants to bring Sara Evers into the after life with him, because he believes she is his lost love reincarnate. This haunted mansion is packed with a brooding headmaster, a creepy butler, hair-brained maids, a fortune teller, a singing quartet of statue heads, and zombies! For a kid, its silly and outrageous nature is funny and even sometimes scary, but for an adult, it can just be a whole lot of nonsensical scenes.
As the characters are all off on their own experiences through the night, they're also on an unknown, similar mission to save their matriarch from impending doom. There's lots of fun moments in this film for everyone in the family to enjoy. Whether you laugh at the singing busts or Jim's dynamic with his son, it's got something for everyone to smile at least a little to.
The plot does seem like a bunch of ideas and other mature film plots regurgitated into child-like form. And there are story points that are so nonsensical that they do make you cringe a little- like a 12 year old taking three years of Latin and reading it perfectly on a tombstone. But other than small technical difficulties, I don't think this film is that bad. I actually think its perfect for children, and there's so much charm in it, that I personally can't help but enjoy it.
Jacindable Rating: ★★½
starring, Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, Nathaniel Parker, Marsha Thomason, Jennifer Tilly, Dina Spybey-Waters, Wallace Shawn, and more
written and directed by, Rob Minkoff and David Berenbaum