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|Eddie Murphy||Jim Evers|
|Nathaniel Parker||Master Gracey|
|Marsha Thomason||Sara Evers|
|Jennifer Tilly||Madame Leota|
|Steve Hytner||Mr. Silverman|
|Rachael Harris||Mrs. Coleman|
|Marc John Jefferies||Michael|
|Heather Juergensen||Mrs. Silverman|
|Kelly Stables||Queen Ghost|
"Check your pulse at the door... if you have one."
Jim Evers (Eddie Murphy) is a workaholic real estate agent who has little time for his family, wife Sara (Marsha Thomason), daughter Megan (Aree Davis) and son Michael (Marc John Jefferies). After missing his own wedding anniversary to seal a business deal, Jim promises his family to go on a weekend away to a nearby lake. Sara is contacted by the occupants of Gracey Manor, located in the bayou swamps of New Orleans, and an eager Jim drags his family along to do business at the house. They meet Master Edward Gracey (Nathaniel Parker), his stern butler Ramsley (Terence Stamp), and other staff Emma (Dina Waters) and Ezra (Wallace Shawn). Master Gracey invites the family to stay the night when a rainstorm floods the river. Jim is taken to the library by Ramsley; he becomes trapped in a secret passageway. Michael and Megan encounter a "ghost ball" which leads them to the mansion's attic where they find a portrait of a woman resembling Sara. Sara meets Master Gracey who explains that his ancestor's lover Elizabeth Henshaw (also portrayed by Marsha Thomason) seemingly committed suicide via poison, and his ancestor followed suit via hanging.However, Jim encounters gypsy woman Madame Leota (Jennifer Tilly), whose head is encased in a crystal ball. After briefly being scared away, Jim and his children learn that all of the mansion's residents are actually ghosts, cursed to be trapped in the mansion until Master Gracey and Elizabeth's ghosts are reunited, and Master Gracey believes that Sara is his lover reincarnated. In order to break the curse, Madame Leota sends the Evers family, minus Sara, into the mansion's cemetery and to a mausoleum to fetch a key that Madame Leota claims is required for "the truth to be known". Jim and Megan locate the key, but awaken all of the mausoleum's undead inhabitants; they escape unharmed thanks to Michael overcoming his arachnophobia and rescuing them. Madame Leota points the family to a trunk in the attic, where Jim finds an old letter from Elizabeth to Edward with the promise of marriage, revealing that her suicide was false. Ramsley appears and reveals that he murdered Elizabeth to prevent Master Gracey from abandoning his home and heritage. To hide the truth, he traps the children in a trunk and literally throws Jim out of the mansion, the curse on the mansion 'healing' any damage caused when Jim attempts to break back in through the windows.Master Gracey reveals to Sara his ghostly self, and obsessively believes she is Elizabeth. Ramsley approaches Sara and blackmails her into marrying Master Gracey for the sake of her children. During the wedding ceremony, Ramsley poisons Sara's drink so that she will die and return as a ghost and end the curse. Madame Leota gives Jim the confidence to ram his BMW into the house- thus causing so much damage that the curse cannot repair it before he enters the house-, save his children and confront the ghosts. He gives the letter to Master Gracey, revealing him the truth about Elizabeth's death, and Master Gracey confronts Ramsley for murdering Elizabeth. An enraged Ramsley tries to summon wraiths to kill the group, but a fiery dragon emerges from the fireplace during the chaos and drags Ramsley into the mouth of Hell for his actions. Ramsley seizes Jim and attempts to pull him down with him to Hell for ruining his plans, but then Master Gracey rescues Jim while Ramsley is dragged into Hell forever. Sara succumbs to the poison, but the ghost ball arrives and possesses her body, revealing itself to be Elizabeth's ghost. Elizabeth and Master Gracey kiss, and Sara is revived. In gratitude and seeking redemption, Master Gracey gives the Evers the deed to the house, allowing them to do what they want with it as long as they remain happy. The ghosts all depart the mansion and move on to Heaven.The film ends with the Evers driving off on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, accompanied by Madame Leota and four singing busts, which Jim and the kids met earlier, who end the film with their own rendition of When the Saints Go Marching In. After the end credits, Madame Leota bids farewell to the audience and invites them to join the dead using dialogue quoted verbatim from the Disney theme park ride.
Theatrical : 2003-11-26 : United States of America
DVD : 2004-04-20