IF Review

With spring finally in full bloom here in the UK, it's time for a May half-term movie. This year's pre-summer hit is IF (Directed by John Krasinski). I'll admit they first time I heard the title of this film, I initially concluded it was a horror film, but IF actually stands for Imaginary Friend and it is certainly not a horror film - what a relief! Thanks to Paramount Pictures UK I attended a preview screening of IF over the weekend and cannot wait to share my review with you all. IF is a must watch at the cinema this spring, read on to see why in this spoiler free review. Check out my Disney Summer Watchlist HERE The narrative revolves around young teen girl Bea (Cailey Fleming), who is going through a pretty turbulent time when she suddenly crossing paths with an imaginary friend named Blossom (Voiced by Phoebe Waller-Bridge). Seeing Blossom leads to Bea meeting Cal (Ryan Reynolds) a man that lives in Bea's Grandmothers (Fiona Shaw) building, who is trying to re-home

Haunted Mansion Review

 Ready for a little spookiness in August? I'll be honest the desire to throw on a jumper, buy pumpkins and embrace all things spooky has hit me early this year, mainly due to the depressing summer weather here in the UK. But something still feels slightly off about releasing a ghost movie in the middle of summer but that is exactly what Disney have done with Haunted Mansion. Haunted Mansion is the second film of its name release by Disney, The Haunted Mansion (Rob Minkoff, 2003) was my go-to childhood scary movie, although there is no link between the two films. It is also the second film to be based on a Disney ride, the first being the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. The ride features at five Disney Parks, under three names: The Haunted Mansion, Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor, and the film makes numerous nods to the dark ride. So, join me foolish mortals on a journey to the Haunted Mansion. 

Haunted Mansion's opening act is perfect, scary and full of mystery. As we open on Ben (Lakeith Stanfield) at the very start of his story, one year prior the main events of the film, although Haunted Mansion is an ensemble film, there is no doubting that Ben is the main character. The very heart of this film is Ben's journey with grief. A year after we are introduced to Ben, Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis (Chase W. Dillon) move to their new mansion in New Orleans. Travis' first encounter with the house verges on too scary, as he and his mother discover the house is haunted by over 900 ghosts. In order to banish the ghosts, they enlist the help of Ben, Father Kent (Owen Wilson), Harriet (Tiffany Haddish) and Bruce (Danny DeVito). This opening act is perfectly paced, intriguing and engaging. The second act slows a little, but ups the humour. Yet it is the third act that lets the film down, the plot becoming a little rushed, disjoined, with the scares becoming a little predictable and overly dramatic. It would have been nice to see the film follow through with the initial scares. That being said, Haunted Mansion is still an enjoyable watch, and the storylines of Ben and Travis are particularly strong. 

Tiffany Haddish brings the majority of the laughs, in fact every line she delivers results in a laugh. Her efforts to sage the house and falling asleep when summing the dead were two of the best moments. Wilson and DeVito bring humour to their roles in equal measure, each character helping to ease the tension of the early scares. Rosario Dawson is sadly underutilised throughout, her performance failing to stand out in the ensemble cast. However, Haunted Mansion does boast a spectacular cast, with Jamie Lee Curtis playing Madame Leota - the mystic stuck in a glass orb and Jarod Leto voicing the intimidating villain Alistair Crump the Hatbox ghost. If you pay close attention, you'll even catch cameos by Winona Ryder (Although I would have loved to see her play the killer bride) and Daniel Levy. Director Justin Simien certainly brought together a stellar cast. 

Haunted Mansion is a Disney film, so audiences can expect high production value. The sets are wonderful, the mansion itself is creepy yet not overdone, the CGI ghosts are crafted well, costumes and props are perfect. Visually Haunted Mansion does not disappoint, it is a spooky feast for the eyes. But what really got me excited was the call backs to the theme park ride. Haddish takes a ride on a chair that is very similar to the carts you sit in on the ride, the entry hall that travels down whilst removing all doors and windows features, and various characters are used throughout. Then we have shots that are identical to the ride, such as the diner ball and the graveyard. The inclusion of Hatbox is also a great call back, but I would have liked the killer Bride to have featured more than she was. These easter eggs make the film such an enjoyable, nostalgic watch, that will make you dream of a Disney Park trip. 

Overall, Haunted Mansion is an enjoyable spooky movie. The charm of Haunted Mansion lies in its limited scares, perfect for those that like a little darkness but not horror, a great middle of the road Halloween film. Whilst some aspects of the film, particularly the execution of the third act are disappointing, it is a fun watch, full of laughs and scares that won't keep you up at night. Haunted Mansion will become a staple Halloween film for Disney lovers. A 4 star Halloween spooky film. 

Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

Thank you for reading xx 

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