Grief. If you have had the misfortune of losing a loved one you know all too well that grief can hit you out of left field. Watching The Haunted Mansion was the last place I expected to be confronted with my grief but here we are. So let’s talk about both; the movie review and grief.
We lost our Mom in April of 2021 after a 9-week battle with a Glioblastoma brain tumour. In doing so we joined a club we never wanted to be part of. Forever changed, grief is never far from our hearts and minds.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from the movie. Perhaps along the lines of the Muppet’s Haunted Mansion special from last year. Light, fun, easter eggs from the beloved Theme Park ride. But there it was, grief, smacking us right in the face.
Seriously though – how great is Muppet’s Haunted Mansion? If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a must watch for theme-park enthusiasts, Disney Park fans and/or Muppet fans. It’s a 10/10! If you’re looking for a movie for the whole family from toddler to adults, the Muppet’s Haunted Mansion is your movie.
Not all of us had the same opinion so I will just start with mine. Though unexpected, I appreciated that the movie wasn’t just about getting a spook out of you or cheap thrills. For me it added a level of depth and context that actually helped me connect on a deep level to the characters. Connecting grief to the element of the dead just felt real and raw.
I had really high expectations of this movie and for me, I’m not a fan. It was too grief-y for me, I didn’t connect with the characters, and I just was disappointed they didn’t lean more into the story of Constance the bride beheading grooms and instead went a weird sad direction that I just didn’t appreciate. I get that they were likely trying to do something different than the mess that was the first Haunted Mansion movie with Eddie Murphy – but for me it fell flat, triggered my grief (and not in a healing way), and just overall was a disappointment for me as far as movies go.
I’ve been thinking about this movie ever since I watched it. The first half of the movie was pretty intense for me. The build up of the antagonist, and the set up of it as a malevolent spirit was too much for my sensitive soul; I had nightmares about it after! Now, granted, I am absolutely on the scaredy cat side of the scale. I’m usually okay with a good thriller, but the threat of a dark spirit created a lot of suspense and apprehension. Once the antagonist had been revealed and fleshed out, I was able to relax and enjoy the movie. The ending monologue from a main character really resonated with me. I find a lot of comfort in media moments where I can see myself in. Grieving our mother has been difficult, because it feels like my world is off it’s axis. Seeing the characters grapple with the same thing was comforting.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to watch it, honestly, especially because I hate hate hate, double hate, LOATHE ENTIRELY Scary movies/horror/thrillers. I am also a sensitive bean when it comes to these kinds of movies and have a very hyper-active imagination. However, after my sister’s talked about it, and my husband watched it (and mentioned the humour in moments as well) I knew I wanted to try. My tip for getting through it if you also don’t do scary things, then watch it on a small screen while doing something else. I had it on my phone while I was doing work on my computer, so when jump scares DO happen (hello mirror trope) I wasn’t facing it on a large screen. The message on grief was more healing for sure than I was expecting, and it didn’t trigger me as much as some other movies do. Since our mom’s death, some things really bring me to my knees, but I loved the message of our grief tying down those we love from moving on.
My kids are now 12 and 15 so I’m not as concerned as I was when they were little. Growing up they were very sensitive to anything spooky or scary and didn’t even love the Haunted Mansion ride. My 12 yr old decided not to hang out and watch it with us. I’m not sure if it was a little too much for him or its because he is 12 and ‘over it’. He did trickle in the last 30 mins and had a few good jump scares hahaha. I love a good jump scare.
My kids haven’t seen it. We have been watching every Disney movie ever made, so we just decided to add it to the rotation in a few years. My youngest is a HUGE Haunted Mansion fan (she’s 10) and was excited about it, but I told her that it was scary and sad so we watched the Muppet’s instead.
I’ve got a six and eight year old. This isn’t a movie they need to see.
My six year old won’t be watching this for a long while yet, as she got my sensitive gene.
Creating a movie night
I would consider making some of the food that can be found near the Haunted Mansion in the park! Tiana’s Palace has just opened up across from the Haunted Mansion ride, and has some really fun food options! The Muffuletta sandwich looks delicious, and fairly easy to replicate at home.
There are also a lot of copycat wallpaper prints from the movie that you could incorporate. I also picked up a few home decor items at the end of the season at Spirit Halloween!
And then we highly recommend purchasing and playing the game The Haunted Mansion! We are big game players in our families, and this is a game that is easy to learn, fun to play, and unlike anything else we’ve played before. We’ve played it with kids as young as 8! It’s also a very fun nod to the ride/movie.
What did you think of the Haunted Mansion? We’d love to hear from you!
Have a magical day,
Erica, Heidi, Elisia, and Danielle