Haunted Mansion (2015) Movie Review
Written By: A.C.P
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director(s): Jun Robles Lana
Writers(s): Jun Robles Lana, Renato Custodio, Marlon Miguel
Producer(s): Lily Y. Monteverde, Roselle Y. Monteverde
Date Released: December 25, 2015
Janella Salvador as Ella
Iza Calzado as Donya Amara
Marlo Mortel as Adrian
Janice de Belen as Miss Gonzales
Dominic Ochoa as Father Anthony
Jerome Ponce as Jacob
Sharlene San Pedro as Faye
Ingrid dela Paz as Megan
Devon Seron as Allison
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
A high school class is conducting a retreat in a huge mansion whose owners’ ancestors trace back to the colonial Spanish era. These students of different cliques fight, fall in love, and get into more trouble far worse than detention as they enrage the diabolic spirits of the house.
This movie utilizes an ample amount of banging sounds, and accordingly not for the faint hearted. There is, however, nothing brand new with the ghosts—the woman in black and a burned corpse with badly corrugated skin, we’ve seen them all before, so the film relies on jump scares to present these specters. Then there are the horrible deaths of some characters, with their tongues torn and eaten by the woman in black. The props for this could use more improvement, though, they look like jelly snacks. Jelly snack or not, this movie is not recommended for children, as suicide by hanging and rape are also depicted.
The Grave Review
Haunted Mansion is hormones meet horror. Most of the first part happens at school, and concentrates on building the character of Ella as the naive beauty with two guys, Adrian and Jacob, going after her, and the cheerleader bullies Megan and her squad making her high school life as miserable as they can. These girls are effectively annoying, but the acting skills of the boys come off as awkward and expressionless. The amount of bullying and traumatic pranks in this movie is alarming and indirectly raises a social issue. For instance, Megan hands Ella a box of supposed chocolates saying it’s from Jacob, only to find a swarm of cockroaches inside. In addition to that, thrill-seeking teenagers and cursed places are never a good combination.
As they arrive and spend days in the mansion, the focus on their teenage egotistic issues widens into the mysteries of the place. The true story behind the angry ghost of the woman in black is revealed in snippets, keeping us waiting for more throughout the movie. Flashbacks are toned in sepia, flashbacks of a woman named Donya Amara and her younger sister Veronica. We are first led to believe that a gardener of their time, Jaime, raped Veronica, who killed herself because of the shame. Then, the ultimate truth is revealed in a twist, that Donya Amara herself was a ruthless and jealous occultist who wanted Jaime for herself, and that Jaime and Veronica were lovers. The acting of these characters from the bygone period are way better than our bickering teenagers. The movie would have been flat and straightforward without this history. The teenagers won’t be able to carry this film alone, it’d lack depth without Donya Amaya’s twists.
The mansion itself is a frightening message of abandoment and betrayal of faith. A priest, Father Anthony, is present among them, but even the religious man could not hold the dead woman back. A chandelier falls above him, maiming his legs. The house has a chapel, a confession booth, and rows of saints and Christian relics. The activity of the students are for spiritual enhancement. Yet faith and divine intervention are muted in this house, instead, it is evil that festers and kills.
Just as we thought it is over, that Ella has succeeded in burning Donya Amaya’s corpse and the poor, injured girl is sent home, it comes back to get her in the comfort of her own house. Finally, a rosary does its job as Ella places it in the creature’s neck, ending its existence once and for all. The movie shows another terrifying aspect, the possibility of the paranormal following you home after you thought you have left its haunting grounds for good.
For the above factors, Grave Reviews gives Haunted Mansion (2015) a rating of two graves over five.
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