The Haunted Mansion Trailer Continues One Of The Worst Trends In Modern Movies

Disney's Haunted Mansion trailer proves the studio continues the awful movie trend of being too visually dark.

By Robert Scucci | Updated

The newest trailer for Disney’s Haunted Mansion has us scratching our heads over some of the visual choices that seem to be a trend in the haunted house subgenre. While the biggest horror in any haunted house type of storyline should be the utility bill (seriously, somebody has to pay the gas bill to heat up 4,000 square feet), the most disturbing aspect of the Haunted Mansion trailer is the use of lighting. While the film itself is rooted in comedic territory, there’s nothing funny about poor lighting.

The Haunted Mansion trailer boasts an all-star ensemble cast, featuring the likes of LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Chase W. Dillon and Dan Levy. This isn’t the first time that a movie has been based on Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction, and Guillermo del Toro‘s 2015’s Crimson Peak was distributed by Universal Pictures after he couldn’t get the green light from Disney for his version. The glaring difference between del Toro’s film and Disney’s is the expert use of lighting.

While Crimson Peak takes a darker turn than the joke-filled Haunted Mansion trailer, the former proves that horror films can take place in darker settings while still having stunning visuals and a clear picture. We’re not quick to blame filmmaker Justin Simien and his crew for making this aesthetic decision, however, because the trend of dark cinematography is an artistic choice that isn’t exclusive to Haunted Mansion. One of the drawbacks of digital filmmaking is that dark lighting is often used as an artistic choice, but many find this choice detrimental to the film’s overall quality.

haunted mansion trailer
Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak

The Haunted Mansion trailer is reminiscent of other films that used dark cinematography such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and 2014’s Godzilla, which angered fans with its gratuitous use of shadows. While dealing with the macabre often tackles dark subject matters, critics and audiences alike agree that the overall darkness of a film should be thematic and not visual. After all, filmmaking is a visual medium, so let’s make sure that audiences can actually see what’s going on!

The Haunted Mansion trailer follows a family who enlists supernatural experts to rid their house of previous tenants who refuse to leave. For those who are fans of the iconic Disney attraction, they’ll feel right at home in this particular haunted mansion. One could only hope that Danny Devito channels his inner Frank Reynolds in the film, but we could reasonably assume that he’s going to dial the persona back quite a bit considering Haunted Mansion has a PG rating.

Haunted Mansion is slated for release on July 28, and the trailer definitely makes us want to see more … literally. At the end of the day, the comedic romp through spooky hallways plagued by ghosts looks like a fun adventure for the whole family to enjoy. Let’s just hope that we’re wrong about the lighting, and that if there’s more than meets the eye, we can actually see it!