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"THE HAUNTED MANSION"
(2003) (Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Heavy *Heavy Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Moderate Extreme None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
*Moderate None Mild Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A family ends up trapped inside a haunted mansion by forces that want to break a curse on those who still reside there.
PLOT:
Jim Evers (EDDIE MURPHY) is a successful realtor who runs his own company with his wife Sara (MARSHA THOMASON). His drive to provide for the family, however, has put a strain on their relationship since he's often too busy with work to spend time with their kids, 13-year-old Megan (AREE DAVIS) and her 10-year-old brother, Michael (MARC JOHN JEFFERIES).

Accordingly, he agrees to spend an entire, work-free weekend with them. Yet, when Sara gets a call requesting she come alone to meet a potential client in an upscale neighborhood, Jim insists that they stop by on the way to their getaway.

His family reluctantly goes along and soon finds themselves in a rundown but immense mansion. There, they meet the head butler, Ramsley (TERENCE STAMP), other staff including Ezra (WALLACE SHAWN) and Emma (DINA WATERS), as well as the owner of the estate, Master Gracey (NATHANIEL PARKER).

When a sudden storm floods the roads, the Evers find themselves stuck there overnight. While Gracey tells Sara the story of his grandfather and his unfulfilled and tragic life with the young Elizabeth, Jim and the kids separately end up looking about the mansion.

With the help of the bodiless, crystal ball fortune teller Madame Leota (JENNIFER TILLY), they soon discover that something bad happened at the mansion and that others are trying to remedy that via the Evers. From that point on, and as various ghosts start coming out of the woodwork, Jim and his kids do what they can to lift a longtime curse and help both Sara and the spirits of those trapped in the haunted mansion.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into ghost-based comedies or are fans of anyone in the cast, it's a good possibility that they might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For frightening images, thematic elements and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • Certain character revelations have been omitted here to preserve some of the plot surprises.
  • EDDIE MURPHY plays a realtor who's put business ahead of family. He tries to right that wrong, but is lured back into that behavior by the potential for a big sale. He uses some brief profanity while trying to deal with the ghostly situation and saving his wife.
  • TERENCE STAMP plays the reserved and stately butler of the mansion who turns out to have an agenda of his own, some of which turns out to have deadly intentions.
  • NATHANIEL PARKER plays the owner of the home who becomes increasingly enamored with Sara due to her looking like a past love of his.
  • MARSHA THOMASON plays Jim's wife and business partner who isn't happy that he's ruined their weekend getaway with more business.
  • MARC JOHN JEFFERIES plays their cautious 10-year-old son who doesn't like being in the mansion.
  • AREE DAVIS plays his older sister who doesn't have any such problems.
  • JENNIFER TILLY plays a bodiless fortune teller in a crystal ball who advises and drop hints for Jim to solve the mystery of the house.
  • WALLACE SHAWN and DINA WATERS play some of the mansion's hired help who assist the kids.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG rated comedy/haunted house flick. Profanity consists of a handful of mild expletives, while some colorful phrases are also uttered. Some brief, non-explicit sexually related talk is present, as is a view of The Lovers tarot card that shows a drawing of a fully nude woman and man.

    Violence includes a deadly poisoning and the aftermath view of a hanging in the past, an attempted poisoning in the present, and some ghost on ghost and ghost on people violence. Some of that material, some jump scenes, and one sequence where decomposed bodies/skeletons come to life and try to attack humans may be unsettling, suspenseful or downright scary to some viewers.

    That's particularly true of younger ones who may find such scenes (and the overall haunted mansion setting) as rather frightening, but that depends on their age, level of maturity and/or tolerance for such material.

    Some characters have bad attitudes, a few drink, some tense family material is present and thematic material includes talk of past murder and suicide (including several views of a hanged body) as well as supernatural doings.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some of that occurs during scenes featuring thunderstorms.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People have drinks at a party in the past.
  • A person asks, "Would you like a drink?"
  • Some of Jim's clients have tropical drinks and offer to buy him one. When he asks for ginger ale, one says that's not a drink and orders three Volcanoes for them.
  • Ramsley asks Jim if he'd care for a drink, Jim says he would and we then see him with it.
  • Michael opens a container and smells the liquor inside.
  • We see various ghosts, some of whom drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Megan smacks a large spider on the window (that Michael wouldn't hit), leaving a big splat mark.
  • Jim looks into a mirror and suddenly sees his reflection that shows his face all decomposed. He looks away and then back again, but this time everything looks normal.
  • Two ghosts are decapitated when clotheslined by a tree while on a carriage, but their heads quickly come back.
  • Jim and Megan discover several decomposed bodies/skeletons that then come to life.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Jim uses Sara's call on the phone as a way of faking out a client into buying a property (by making them think she's another client ready to buy).
  • Jim routinely ends up putting business ahead of his marriage and family life.
  • Jim steals a cigar and matches from the mansion.
  • Ezra and Emma lie to Ramsley about not having seen the kids (but do so to protect them).
  • We see a flashback to a person poisoning some wine, thus resulting in another person's death.
  • A ghost makes an offhand threat that Sara's kids will be harmed if she doesn't go along with his plan, and that she'll be killed so that she can be reunited with another ghost.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" might also be unsettling, suspenseful or downright scary to some viewers, particularly younger ones. Older kids might not have any problem with the material.
  • Once the family enters the creepy looking mansion, the visuals and overall aura might also be scary to younger kids.
  • In the past, Gracey finds Elizabeth and carries her dead body.
  • In the past, we see that Gracey has hanged himself (we see his body with a rope around his neck up to the ceiling).
  • The family discovers an immense cemetery behind the house (the kind that looks creepy).
  • The Evers family goes inside the immense, old and creepy mansion. After a moment, the initially creeping-looking Ramsley slowly approaches, illuminated on and off again by lightning.
  • A ghostly ball of light approaches Michael and Megan, and they're briefly scared of it. After a moment, however, they no longer are and end up following it.
  • Several stone busts turn and look at Jim as he passes by to investigate a door that appears to be breathing (it's moving in and out).
  • Jim looks into a mirror and suddenly sees his reflection that shows his face all decomposed. He looks away and then back again, but this time everything looks normal.
  • We see a large crystal ball with Madame Leota's glowing head (or the image thereof) floating inside it.
  • Madame Leota causes Jim's chair to levitate from the floor and start rapidly spinning (along with other things) around a room.
  • Various musical instruments float and chase Jim down a hallway.
  • We see another brief shot of Gracey hanging dead with a rope around his neck.
  • A ghostly carriage - drawn by a ghostly skeletal horse -- blasts out from a mansion wall (causing property damage).
  • Jim slowly enters a building that had a written Latin warning about being a passage to the dead. He slowly descends a flight of stairs into a large, crypt-like chamber. After Megan surprises him, they find a large black coffin and open it. Inside, there's a mostly decomposed body and Jim has to work on its hands to retrieve a key. As they start to walk away, the body suddenly sits up and turns its head to look at Jim. He ends up dropping the key onto a grate and then into some water below it. Jim then tells Megan to get the key while he deals with the menacing looking, decomposed body that's now slowly coming after him. After several passes, Jim decapitates the body with a torch, causing the body to fall into the water (where Megan has gone under the surface to look for the key). Jim then sees that all of the decomposed bodies are coming out of all of the coffins, with some also breaking through a wall. Meanwhile, Megan finds the key underwater, but a decomposed body surprises her there and then more are around her in the water. Jim pulls her to safety and they race up the stairs, only to find the large door closed. On the other side, many huge spiders crawl across the front, unnerving Michael who's scared of regular spiders. As the decomposed bodies come up the stairs toward Jim and Megan, Jim tries to get Michael to ignore the spiders and open the door (he eventually does and Jim then has to sweep some of the spiders off him). One of the bodies tries to grab Jim, but he closes the door and severs the arm that then continues moving on the ground.
  • A ghost causes a large trunk to race across the floor and scoop up Michael and Megan inside it (they're trapped but otherwise okay).
  • A ghost lifts Jim by the neck and tosses him out through an upper floor window (crashing through the glass). He then lands hard on the top of a large greenhouse, falls off that and lands hard on his car hood.
  • A ghost infers that Sara will be killed so that she can be reunited with Elizabeth's former lover.
  • A ghost makes an offhand threat that Sara's kids will be harmed if she doesn't go along with his plan.
  • Various suits of armor come to life and try to attack Jim with standard knight-based weaponry (swords, ball and chain, battle ax, etc.). He kicks one backwards, catches a battle ax just inches from his face, and spears another suit of armor and flips it over.
  • Long strands of swirling spirits race into the mansion and around the humans, while Ramsey's eyes turn all white and wild-looking.
  • A menacing monster of flames enters and swirls about the mansion, grabbing a ghost that then grabs Jim by the feet, hanging him over a precipice into what looks like a fiery Hell. Another ghost then saves Jim and the other falls down into the inferno.
  • Sara reacts to poison given to her by a ghost and appears to die (Jim and their kids see that). A ghostly ball of spiritual energy then goes into her body and lifts her up into some white light (could be scary to younger kids), eventually resurrecting her.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see various ghosts, one of whom fires a pistol while another fires a crossbow where the arrow lands in another ghost's forehead rather than the apple on top of it (being a ghost, he's no worse for the wear).
  • Various suits of armor come to life and try to attack Jim with standard knight-based weaponry (swords, ball and chain, battle ax, etc.).
  • Gracey pulls a sword on Jim.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Look at the size of those knockers," "Oh...my...God," "Oh cripes," "Big ass termites," "Insufferable fool," "What a fool," "Freak show," "Oh crap," "We went to Hell and back," "I'll be whipping your ass for all eternity," "Must we continue listening to the ramblings of a lunatic?" "Damn you (all to Hell)" and "The hell I can't."
  • In the past, we see that Gracey has hanged himself (we see his body with a rope around his neck up to the ceiling).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A monstrous and huge ghostly face suddenly comes out at a boy peering through the gate at the mansion.
  • Jim turns and Ramsley is suddenly behind him (accompanied by some sudden music).
  • Ramsley suddenly appears behind Sara (with some sudden music).
  • The sudden squawk of a crow might startle some viewers.
  • Jim looks into a mirror and suddenly sees his reflection that shows his face all decomposed.
  • Some torches suddenly spout flames.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous and suspenseful music (some of it light in nature) plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 craps, 2 asses, 2 damns, 1 hell and 1 use each of "Oh God" and "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see a brief view of what appeared to be The Lovers tarot card that shows drawings of a fully nude woman and man. The woman's bare breasts and crotch are seen, as is the man's penis, but none of that is photo realistic.
  • We briefly see the cover of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue (nothing explicit, just a partial view of a swimsuit model) that Michael has apparently been looking at.
  • Jim comments about the front door, "Look at the size of those knockers" (an obvious breast pun, although not directed at anyone's breasts in particular).
  • Jim complains about a ghost trying to "get jiggy" with his wife and "trying to get with" her.
  • Sara shows a little cleavage in a wedding gown.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Jim routinely puts business ahead of his marriage and family life. Accordingly, Sara isn't happy with him being so preoccupied and busy with work at the expense of their family.
  • Sara is upset with Jim regarding spoiling their weekend family getaway. When he says that he works hard to buy her nice things, she returns the new watch he just gave her (as a previous bribe).
  • A ghost makes an offhand threat that Sara's kids will be harmed if she doesn't go along with his plan.
  • Sara reacts to poison given to her by a ghost and appears to die (Jim and their kids see that).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Ghosts and places that are reportedly haunted.
  • Jim routinely puts business ahead of his marriage and family life.
  • In the past, we see that Gracey has hanged himself (we see his body with a rope around his neck up to the ceiling).
  • We hear that woman committed suicide via poisoning (but later learn she was murdered).
  • There's talk that Gracey's grandfather (who's white) and Elizabeth (who's black) came from different worlds and thus couldn't be together.
  • Some spirits comment on finally going to Heaven.
  • VIOLENCE
  • In the past, Gracey swipes things from a desk in anger.
  • In the past, we see that Gracey has hanged himself (we see his body with a rope around his neck up to the ceiling).
  • Megan smacks a large spider on the window (that Michael wouldn't hit), leaving a big splat mark.
  • A ghostly carriage blasts out from a mansion wall (causing property damage).
  • Two ghosts are decapitated when clotheslined by a tree while on a carriage, but their heads quickly come back.
  • We see various ghosts, one of whom fires a pistol while another fires a crossbow where the arrow lands in another ghost's forehead rather than the apple on top of it (being a ghost, he's no worse for the wear).
  • A menacing-looking, decomposed body comes after Jim. After several passes, Jim decapitates the body with a torch, causing the body to fall into the water.
  • A decomposed body tries to grab Jim, but he closes a door and severs the arm that then continues moving on the ground.
  • We see a flashback to a person poisoning some wine, thus resulting in another person's death.
  • Jim twice tries to punch a person who turns out to be a ghost (thus his punch goes through thin air).
  • A ghost causes a large trunk to race across the floor and scoop up Michael and Megan inside it (they're trapped but otherwise okay).
  • A ghost lifts Jim by the neck and tosses him out through an upper floor window (crashing through the glass). He then lands hard on the top of a large greenhouse, falls off that and lands hard on his car hood.
  • Jim tries to smash through a window to gain entry into the mansion, but he's unsuccessful. Moments later, however, he drives his car through a mostly glass wall, running into and destroying a piano in the process.
  • Various suits of armor come to life and try to attack Jim with standard knight-based weaponry (swords, ball and chain, battle ax, etc.). He kicks one backwards, catches a battle ax just inches from his face, and spears another suit of armor and flips it over.
  • Sara reacts to poison given to her by a ghost and appears to die (but is later okay).



  • Reviewed November 22, 2003 / Posted November 26, 2003

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