The Haunted Mansion is a 2003 fantasy film based on the ride of the same name, directed by Rob Minkoff and starring Eddie Murphy, Terence Stamp, Jennifer Tilly, Marsha Thomason and Nathaniel Parker.
Jim and Sara Evers are proprietors of Evers and Evers Real Estate and parents of 10-year-old Michael and 13-year-old Megan. Jim is a workaholic who has not been spending time with his family, much to the disapproval of his wife. On a weekend trip in which he has promised to devote time to the family, they make a detour through the swamps of New Orleans, Louisiana to Gracey Manor, a decaying but valuable property. The owners had earlier contacted Sara with interest in selling,but they end up seeing ghosts at the house.

Once the Evers arrive, a violent rainstorm erupts, and they are led inside by Ramsley, the creepy butler who is immediately disturbed that Sara did not come alone. The family is introduced to Master Edward Gracey, the heir of the house, and invited to stay the night as the roads have flooded. Michael and Megan are sent to one bedroom, Jim and Sara to another.

As Jim and Sara are separated, and Jim finds himself trapped in a secret passage, Michael and Megan are led by a floating blue orb into an attic room where they discover an antiquated painting that looks exactly like their mother. They encounter Ezra and Emma, a footman and maid respectively who work for the mansion and also warn the kids of impending danger. Megan and Michael discover that Emma and Ezra are actually ghosts, as is Master Gracey, and that Master Gracey thinks their mother is his lover Elizabeth returned to him from beyond the grave; years ago, she had seemingly committed suicide.

Meanwhile, Jim discovers the animated head of gypsy Madame Leota stored inside a crystal ball. Through her help, he is led to his kids and together, they follow her instructions through a ghost-populated graveyard to find a key that will help them flee the mansion. Jim, Michael, and Megan learn that there is a curse binding the souls of everyone who has died in the mansion to walk its premises until it is broken.

Jim and Megan go into a mausoleum, per Madame Leota's instructions, and locate the key in question, only to be attacked by hundreds of zombies. They find themselves trapped in the mausoleum, but Michael overcomes his fear of spiders (which are crawling all over the outside of the crypt door) and frees his father and sister just in time. They use the key to unlock a trunk, inside of which is a letter from Elizabeth declaring that she loved Master Gracey and that she did want to marry him. It is revealed that Ramsley, also a ghost, did not like the idea of Master Gracey and Elizabeth getting married. So he wrote a different letter (which was taken as Elizabeth's) stating that Elizabeth felt differently than she really did, and poisoned Elizabeth to prevent an interracial marriage between her and Gracey. Ramsley traps Michael and Megan in a trunk suitcase, and literally throws Jim out of the mansion, locking him outside. He confronts Sara and makes it clear that she will either proceed with the marriage (and a suicide), or that her children will die.

Jim, attempting to break back into the mansion but finding it magically sealed, sits outside in vain until the head of Madame Leota rolls up to him to encourage him to keep trying. Jim drives his BMW E65 through the wall just in time to stop the wedding and confront Gracey with the truth. When all is revealed, Ramsley becomes enraged and invokes the fires of Hell. The multiple windows of the mansion shatter as evil spirits fly around the room. Then out of the fireplace comes a giant demonic dragon. The dragon sucks Ramsley into the fireplace for his eternal punishment in Hell. Unfortunately, Sara has had enough of the poison given to her before the wedding to die. Just in time, Elizabeth's spirit, which is actually the blue orb, moves into Sara's body and revives her, breaking the curse and saving her life. After everything he's put the Evers through, Master Gracey repays them by giving them the deed to the mansion. Thus all of the spirits in the mansion, including Elizabeth, Master Gracey, Ezra, and Emma ascend into the light of Heaven, their curse broken.

Jim has learned an important lesson about family, and his son and daughter have learned bravery in the face of evil. The family, now in possession of the deed to the house, head out on their vacation to the lake (with the encased head of Madame Leota in the back seat and a quartet of singing busts strapped to the back of the car singing their own version of "When the Saints Come Marching In").

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008 Posted in | | 0 Comments »

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