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An American Haunting (2006)

tomatometer

12

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

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

12

Average Rating: 3.4/10
Critic Reviews: 17
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 15

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

audience

36

liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 88,759

My Rating

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

PG-13,

Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Courtney Solomon

Oct 24, 2006

$16.2M

Freestyle Releasing - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (74) | Top Critics (18) | 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.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 5, 2006 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 5, 2006 Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 5, 2006
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

For anyone aware of this poltergeist tale, or who bothers to look it up, the victim's identity will come as no surprise, and a horror movie without a surprise is no horror movie at all.

May 5, 2006 Full Review Source: New York Daily News
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop 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."

April 19, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

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.

July 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

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

March 24, 2007 Full Review Source: UGO

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

August 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Hollywood.com | Comment (1)
Hollywood.com

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

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: BBC

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.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
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.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

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

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

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.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

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

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: FilmFocus

It's less An American Haunting than American humdrum.

June 3, 2006
Reel.com

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.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Threat
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.

June 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Boxoffice Magazine
Boxoffice Magazine

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

May 25, 2006 Full Review Source: Screen It!
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.

May 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

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

May 18, 2006 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
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.

May 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

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.

May 12, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club

Audience Reviews for An American Haunting

For some reason I expected so much more from ths film, I was told that I had to see it, Now I wonder Why. But its a good rainny night oh hell I am alone film. Its in my collection, only cause I brought it before seeing it, Buy it used, not new. 3 Stars
February 9, 2012
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Movie adaption of the Bell Witch haunting/possession that occurred back in the 1800s. Not too bad actually, it never scared the pants off me but it does have some chilling moments and is nicely paced with the haunting scenes flowing frequently. What lets it down is the lack of atmosphere which is killed due to the flashy way it's been shot and the unscary moments of CGI ghosts. The shoddy ending is also a let-down and really is quite offensive to the actual people involved in the incidents.
December 1, 2011
WrenchLT
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

*Spoiler Alert*

Boring. And why market a film as a true story of the only documented case where a spirit killed a man, and then not have the man killed by the spirit. Instead they created an explanation for why the "spirit" was haunting them which was not at all the case in the true story/legend.
April 14, 2011
purplemegan

Super Reviewer

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