Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Spooky Tale Full of clichA

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Spooky Tale Full of clichA

Article excerpt

The haunted mansion (Cert PG, 84 mins, Walt Disney Home Video, Family/Comedy, also available to buy DVD pounds 19.99/VHS pounds 14.99)

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Marsha Thomason, Marc John Jefferies, Aree Davis, Nathaniel Parker, Terence Stamp, Jennifer Tilly, Wallace Shawn.

Workaholic estate agent Jim Evers (Murphy) has badly neglected his family, including his wife and business partner Sara (Thomason) and children Megan (Davis) and Michael (Jefferies).

To make amends, Jim suggests the entire family goes away together for the weekend. En route to a retreat in the country, the family is sidetracked into viewing a spooky old house which is about to come on the market. A decrepit butler, Ramsley (Stamp), greets the Evers at the door and the family soon realises that the dashing owner of the house, Master Gracey (Parker), has lured them to the property with ghoulish intent.

Having set up the rifts between the various family members, the film proceeds to tread water for a good hour before coaxing the characters into action. Jim is a Bad Dad, Sara is a Good Tolerant Wife, the kids are Emotionally Scarred.

Screenwriter David Berenbaum fails to generate any suspense or tension as Jim races to save his lovely wife and the few pop culture references ("Dad, I see dead people") are rather obvious. The demonic walking skeletons in the Gracey family crypt warrant an unintentional laugh, looking suspiciously like they have wandered off the video of Michael Jackson's `Thriller'.

DVD Extras: Producer commentary, "The Making Of The Mansion" featurette, Disney's Virtual DVD Ride: The Haunted Mansion, bloopers, deleted scenes, Anatomy Of A Scene ( ghost in the graveyard, Raven "Superstition" music video.

THE MISSING (Cert 15, 131 mins, Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment, Western/Thriller, also available to buy DVD pounds 17.99/VHS pounds 12.99)

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Tommy Lee Jones, Evan Rachel Wood, Jenna Boyd, Eric Schweig, Aaron Eckhart, Clint Howard, Rance Howard, Val Kilmer. …

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