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The Haunted Mansion | 2003 | PG | - 2.5.3

A workaholic real estate agent (Eddie Murphy) and his wife (Marsha Thomason) meet a prospective client at a mansion where mysterious things are rumored to be going on. When the road washes out due to a storm the couple and their two children (Marc John Jefferies and Aree Davis) stay the night, and finally learn the truth about the house by way of a creepy butler (Terrence Stamp), a woman in a crystal ball (Jennifer Tilly) and two ethereal caretakers (Wallace Shawn and Dina Waters). Directed by Rob Minkoff. [1:39]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man and a woman kiss a few times. A man looks at a woman lovingly. A man makes a comment to his son when he finds a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition in his room (we see the cover with a woman in a bikini). We briefly see a nude woman (she is drawn in line art, and no details are apparent) on a tarot card. A woman wears a clingy, soft dress that reveals cleavage. A woman wears a low-cut gown that reveals cleavage and bare shoulders. A portrait of a woman shows her bare shoulders. A man accuses another man of "getting jiggy" with his wife.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 5 - There is eerie organ music played and a booming, ghostly voice speaks while the opening credits roll and we watch events that lead to a woman's death (we see her fall limp on a sofa after drinking poisoned wine) and a man hanging himself (we see him dangling with the rope around his neck). Suits of armor come to life, swing their swords, flails (spiked balls on chains) and spears at a man, the man is nearly hit with an axe, he stabs one with a spear and lifts it into the air, and others have their "heads" lopped off. A woman collapses after having drunk poisoned wine, and her body levitates off the ground. A man with a sword threatens another man. Two children are locked in a trunk and hung from a chain. A man is thrown through a window, crashes onto a house roof, slides off and crashes onto a car roof. A man and two children walk through a cemetery, the man and girl go into a crypt, they open a coffin, we see a decayed and skeletal corpse, and the man removes a key from the corpse's hand (we hear crunching and squishing); the corpse and many other corpses begin to move and come after the two, the man knocks the head off of one and it floats in the water near a girl who screams while she is grabbed at by many other zombies. A girl goes under water where there are many decayed corpses. A zombie's arm is cut off when it is closed in a door (we see it hit the floor). Ghostly forms fly through a room, flames from a fireplace grow and take the shape of a dragon wrapping itself around a man (he's a ghost) who is taken down into a deep hole, and he grabs another man as he goes but the man is pulled back up. A man sees his reflection in a mirror and his face looks decayed and mummified (he screams). A man threatens two children. A door is covered with many large spiders and a boy must open the door (he ends up with many spiders crawling on him). A man levitates in a chair, spins around a room with a table, he runs through a hallway chased by floating musical instruments and he's hit in the face by a drum. A man drives a car through a large window and crashes into a house. A ghostly horse-drawn carriage crashes through a wall, and the two ghostly drivers lose their heads when they crash into a tree limb. We see many ghosts in various activities -- one shoots another in the head with an arrow, and two duel with guns. People go into a house (the door opens by itself) while a storm is raging outside (thunder roars and lightning flashes) and a man approaches them from the shadows. A woman speaks (her head that is) from a crystal ball and talks about an evil spell. A man goes into a secret passage and the door rumbles as it closes behind him. A man swings at a ghost that turns to vapor. People discover a large, spooky cemetery in the back of an estate. A glowing vapor appears and frightens a girl and boy. Creepy-looking vines and tree limbs are all around the outside of the large house, we see animal heads, bones and body parts in a study, and a portrait of a rider changes to look skeletal. Portraits on a wall become animated as people pass, stone busts sing and move and a door appears to be breathing. Many "ghost balls" (glowing vapor) float into the sky. A man and a woman argue. A boy screams when he sees a spider and a girl squishes the spider on a window (we hear a crunch and see goo). A shockwave emits from a house and knocks a boy to the ground. A man talks about a woman having committed suicide and a man having hung himself because of a broken heart.


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LANGUAGE 3 - 4 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 5 mild obscenities, 2 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People drink alcohol.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - The supernatural, love, desperation, fears, hope, greed, family vs. career, sacrifice, duty, honor, priorities, disappointment, truth, second chances, forgiveness, murder, suicide, grief.

MESSAGE - Being scared is OK. The only true failure is when you stop trying to resolve a scary situation.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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