A Movie Night Review: Haunted Mansion Two

Maddie, Sarah, and Charlie sitting on Sarah's bed watching Haunted Mansion Two. Charlie is pointing to the TV.
From back to front: Maddie, Charlie (pointing), Sarah

It can be argued that movies are a large part of each of our lives. At some point, everyone will enjoy a film from time to time. Whether that be in a theater, at home, or at a friend’s house, movies are an important right of passage!

Our experiences with movies, whether it be our first or not,  are extremely influential. Films can teach us things, create memories, and foster special moments. All of these factors go into our movie experience. Moreover, if we have a good experience we are not only more apt to remember the film, but to feel a propensity to keep watching movies. But what is it that makes a good movie experience? Are our positive feelings solely associated with the film itself, or can our experience be tied to factors that go deeper than that? These questions got me thinking, and I came to the conclusion that our movie environment can be just as influential as the movie content itself. As much as I think this to be true, this hypothesis needed to be put to the test, and I further wondered what exactly makes a good movie environment, does it vary from person to person? This is where my college buddies come in to play.

I round up three of my friends Charlie Harkins, Sarah Douglas, and Madison Rice. I began with an informal interview where I asked them not only if they like movies, but if they think the environment plays a role in their film experience. The answers were a roaring yes, expressing that the biggest problem to be had in any movie environment is distractions. Distractions can range from siblings, to loud noises, to simply not being cozy enough or having good snacks! Taking all of this into consideration, I began to ask what makes a movie for them. A strong theme was a big TV, however cozy lights and comfort food came to a close second. Furthermore, I asked how they would make their movie night the best at home (on a college budget). In response to this question, Taco Bell was another strong theme. This is not shocking as my friend group consists of all avid Taco Bell lovers, Charlie even has his own merch from them!

Charlie and Maddie Posing Next to Taco Bell spread on Sarah's bed.
Taco Bell laid on a night stand with a salt lamp, flowers, and TV remote surrounding it.

Without further ado Charlie, Sarah, Maddie and I decided to try out all our suggestions. We chose to go to Sarah’s room, as she has some of the best mood lighting and a 40” Roku TV. We then all hopped into my Honda Civic, and took off to Taco Bell to grab all of the goods; trust me we got all the goods. Upon getting back to campus we hiked our way back to Sarah’s room and began our set up. All her fairy lights were turned on including her salt lamp (pictured to the right), and we got our taco bell spread all laid out as pictured to the left!

Maddie, Charlie, and Sarah sitting on Sarah's bed watching Haunted Mansion Two.

Once our environment was set up to their taste we chose to watch Haunted Mansion 2 on Disney Plus. We all really enjoyed this movie, it was not the same as the first one, however it was still great. It had a good blend of spooky factor, and tender moments.  The character development was also pretty good, as we got to see the main characters grow from and overcome personal struggles to the benefit of all! While watching, it was very noticeable that all of us were paying attention, even interacting with the film at times. Additionally, it became clear that having each other’s company aided in a pleasant environment and film experience.

Maddie, Charlie, and Sarah sitting on Sarahs bend laughing with each other.

In reflection, putting our environment to the test rang true in regards to the movie experience as a whole. Our ideal, and pleasant environment, led to a fantastic movie experience. We made memories, gained knowledge, and had lots of laughs. Not only did it help make the film, but this environment pushes us to keep watching movies; especially together like this. To see what went into creating this movie night review, check out the video down below. It takes you through not only the interview process but our personal journey to not only creating a perfect movie night experience, but a great experience as a whole!