- Eddie Murphy plays a Type-A movie dad who gets his comical comeuppance.
Enter the present day. Following a cheap scare that serves to remind us that indeed, the house is still haunted, we're introduced to Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy, sporting a cheesy grin), a real estate agent who wants you to be happy "for Evers and Evers!" His wife, Sara (Marsha Thomason), appears to be a partner in the company, yet he seems to be doing all the work and, in the process, missing his children's sports games and such, the defining trait of all movie dads about to receive comical comeuppance.
Evers gets his when a scary English-accented voice calls his wife on the phone and insists she come to Gracey Manor to sign a real-estate deal. She demurs, but Jim can't resist a house of that caliber, so he decides that, en route to a weekend family vacation, they'll stop by and check it out. After driving through a creepy forest and looking out upon a huge CG-enhanced matte painting of a graveyard, the Evers family finds itself at the dinner table of the Gracey mansion, in the company of Edward and his odd butler Ramsley (Terence Stamp, made up to be an even creepier caricature of himself than usual).
After rain floods the nearest bridge, forcing the Everses to stay the night, a literal translation of the Disneyland ride unfolds. The family wanders through halls, past scary pictures that come to life, doors that breathe like Darth Vader, mirrors containing dubious reflections, and secret passages. They encounter digital phantoms along the way, including the ride's hitchhiker ghosts and the disembodied Gypsy head, Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly). For those of you who've never been able to afford a trip to the Disney parks, or even those who simply don't want to pay exorbitant admission prices, you finally get to share the fun. Kids love a good ghost story, but many cinematic ones are either R-rated or hopelessly cheesy, like Casper. This movie should satisfy, at least until the disappointing climax.