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An American Haunting (2006)


Average Rating: 3.5/10
Reviews Counted: 68
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 60

Critics Consensus: Well, it looks good. But wasn't it supposed to be scary?

Average Rating: 3.3/10
Critic Reviews: 19
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 17

Critics Consensus: Well, it looks good. But wasn't it supposed to be scary?


Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 88,842


Movie Info

The wind whispers ominous warnings of death before a malevolent entity arrives to claim the life of a young girl as director Courtney Solomon brings author Brent Monahan's chilling, fact-based story of supernatural murder to the screen in this tale of terror starring Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. The year is 1818 and the Bell family is a quiet clan residing on a remote farm in Red River, TN. A normal, loving family by all accounts, the uneventful lives of the Bell family begin to take a … More

PG-13 (for intense terror sequences and thematic material)
Mystery & Suspense , Horror
Directed By:
Written By:
Courtney Solomon
In Theaters:
Oct 24, 2006
Box Office:
Freestyle Releasing - Official Site



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Critic Reviews for An American Haunting

All Critics (74) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (60) | DVD (7)

This allegedly true tale of demonic possession is weighed down by period detail and ponderous storytelling, which soon get the better of its Exorcist-inspired levitations, flying crucifixes and noisy poltergeist activity.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's never an encouraging sign when a horror movie based on a true story fatally lacks the verisimilitude of, say, Alone In The Dark.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

This is one of the more annoying, irritating, obnoxiously un-scary scary movies in recent memory.

Full Review… | May 8, 2006
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic

This is the type of movie that you should be getting for free on television.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

There's thunder and lightning and wall-to-wall music. But it still doesn't add up to much of a movie.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

The dark force behind this movie is the relentless power of cliche.

May 5, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic

The frights are few and the moment of horrific revelation is a big letdown in writer/director Courtney Solomon's cinematic treatment of Brent Monahan's novel "The Bell Witch: An American Haunting."

Full Review… | April 19, 2009

it becomes haunted by the unwelcome presence of heavy-handedness, making it seem more like a busy domestic melodrama (with a ghost) than a truly unnerving chiller.

Full Review… | July 2, 2007
Eye for Film

Takes the most documented ghost story in history and doesn't create one truly scary moment.

Full Review… | March 24, 2007

This is proof that it doesn't take lots of bloody gore, big special effects or jump-at-you moments to scare jaded audiences.

Full Review… | August 23, 2006

Unoriginal and unrelenting, this gothic ghost story invests too much time in banging doors and billowing drapes and not enough in its characters.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006

Director Courtney Solomon's script is a catalogue of the standard Exorcist-style special effects, hammered home by Caine Davidson's musical score, one of the most irritating and nerve-wracking assemblies of noise in movie history.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006
Sacramento News & Review

It really is fun to watch yet another oddball turn by Sutherland, and a marginally restrained one from Spacek. It's just not that fun.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006
Austin Chronicle

Disappointing horror film which fails to generate any suspense or horror and is occasionally downright laughable.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006

Although [director Solomon] has some great ideas, they are limited, and we are therefore treated to repeats of the same basic scenario over and over again until the effect becomes tedious.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006
Q Network Film Desk

A collection of cheap jump-scares and tacky clichéd imagery that we've seen a million times before.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006

It's less An American Haunting than American humdrum.

June 3, 2006

Labeled by some as 'America's Greatest Ghost Story,' the legendary Bell Witch gets herself another movie and the result is far from America's Greatest Ghost Movie.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006
Film Threat

An American Haunting utterly stultifies the thrilling Bell Witch legend on which the film is based; the most disturbing ghost here is the wraith of opportunity lost.

Full Review… | June 3, 2006
Boxoffice Magazine

The film isn't that frightening simply because we've seen this sort of 'girl attacked by demon' material countless times before.

Full Review… | May 25, 2006
Screen It!

Writer-director Courtney Solomon manages to cast a modern spin on the story, but it is one that could be regarded as the least imaginative explanation possible.

Full Review… | May 24, 2006
Film Journal International

Writer-director Solomon simply can't generate any actual suspense. Although he certainly tries.

Full Review… | May 18, 2006
Shadows on the Wall

More like "An American Hanging." It slips a big noose of banality around its audience's necks and then tightens the rope until unconsciousness sets in.

May 14, 2006
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

The girl has a crush on her teacher and a flirty classmate (Sam Alexander). But eventually this plotting seems a distraction, or a means to blame the victim.

Full Review… | May 13, 2006
Common Sense Media

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