An American Haunting Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 22, 2007
Creepy well done flick.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2014
Clichéd horror film that had the potential of a truly great experience, An American Haunting is one of those films that looks very promising, but fails to deliver on a truly great idea. What we have here is a bunch of bland, mindless predictable jump scares mixed with poor performances. This is one movie that really should have been a wonderful horror film, but it fails due to the fact that its ideas presented on-screen are things that we've seen many times before in other, better genre films. Here we have a good cast wasted on a poor script, and it's a shame because An American Haunting is a very good looking movie, but there is simply no substance to back up the nice atmosphere and tone. What we have here in terms of a horror film is a big disappointment and it just doesn't have enough going for it to make a good movie, the film lacks in genuine chills and thrills and like I said just recycled ideas that we've seen with no care on creating a truly tense, riveting horror film that is engaging from start to finish. The tone of the film is quite ridiculous and if you want a great horror film, you won't find it here. This awful to mediocre horror and it is a movie that fails to really grab your attention the way a film in this genre should. Don't go into this one expecting great things from it, it's a film that just doesn't have anything going for it, and despite the casting of Donald Sutherland, it simply doesn't have any memorable moments of sheer horror, and the film ends up being a lazy affair that is a missed opportunity to make something really stand out.
Super Reviewer
January 6, 2008
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
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2011
*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.
Super Reviewer
½ March 15, 2011
This movie wasn't scary as much as it was creepy. The plot had a lot of depth to it. It wasn't a shallow plot like a bunch of teenagers getting chased by a mad killer. It kept you thinking "is this a demon attacking the girl, or something else?". I thought I knew what it was, until the twist came at the end. Good twist by the way.

The characters I admit were a bit underdeveloped; I don't think any of them had much personality. They seemed to act exactly the same- all of them. They had no unique characteristics that separated them from one another except for maybe the teacher, but even that is a stretch. There were also many unnecessary characters in the film that had absolutely no personality whatsoever. They also didn't add anything to the story, so it was completely useless to have them in the film at all.

Some parts really didn't make any sense. The demon dog or wolf or whatever kind of confused me. Not sure what the symbolism was there, but I didn't catch on. Why a black dog/wolf? What was its purpose exactly? Also, why did the witch have John & Betsy's stuff? *SPOILER* The witch had no part in the strange events taking place at the Bell's house, so I'm not sure why she would have those things. The film never explains it. The movie clears up some plot holes like the relationship of Betsy and her teacher, and the little girl ghost that Betsy saw.....but that's pretty much it. It was a kind of a confusing story.

There was good depth in the plot, and I thought the story line was okay (just needed some clarity), but the characters really needed to be developed more. When the characters don't seem to care about what's going on, how can the audience?
Super Reviewer
½ March 28, 2007
As an adaptation of the Bell Witch haunting legend, it begins well but decides to end in speculative fiction. As a film in its own right, it self-destructs by patching on an ending that doesn't fit the earlier tone of the film. As much as I disliked the ending on historical grounds, it could easily have worked better if they had presented the haunting as a poltergeist triggered by the supposed events - but that means no see-through 'ghost' figures, and apparently that was too subtle for them.

That pretty much sums up my issues with the film as a film divorced from the inspiration; it tries too hard to be flashy. I especially disliked the voice of the Bell Witch spirit, which seemed to be an amalgamation of cast voices and primarily a little girl whispering. Well, I suppose that fits with the ending but it's not all that creepy. If they'd made it more concrete and less ethereal then it could've been genuinely unnerving AND we would've been able to make out what the hell it was saying.

I would love to see a decent period horror film, for me this sadly isn't one.
Super Reviewer
½ August 2, 2006
A well acted film of this genre, perhaps because of it?s claim that it is based on true events.

I particularly liked the ending which I felt turned the whole film around from just being watchable to pretty entertaining and of course realising it?s authenticity.
Super Reviewer
July 24, 2009
A tedious 90 minutes where the only impresses by how little it has to offer. Ghosts and "shocks" that just aren't scary. Plot twists that fail to elevate an eyebrow. American Haunting isn't truly bad, it just has such little effect on the viewer that you watch it through a haze of other thoughts. The performances are good, but why put in so much effort when I care more about my next drink than I do about the characters. The feeble tie-in to modern day was also forced and disappointing. This is more like one of those reconstructions for supernatural documentaries, than a film on it's own.
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2006
A complete mess. Scenes go nowhere, the film is not scary, and while the ending tries to resolve everything, it just ends up confusing you even more.
Super Reviewer
½ March 30, 2007
Directed by: Courtney Solomon.
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood.

I can't believe $8 was wasted on this, I remember over a year ago I had heard a few pre-screener reviews for this film and they said it was pretty good (must of been paid by the studio to say bullshit, either that or they were 13 year old girls) and then after it was released, I never followed any reviews and then saw this DVD on shelves this week in the video store....and I truly regret even touching the DVD case.

The film pretty much sums up 'cliche' and mashes it all into one atrocious film. I have briefly heard of this story before, it is an interesting concept and could be great if done well, instead it is taken and raped. The film could win an award for the most overuse of cliche I have ever seen, building no visible tension at all and using extremely pathetic loud noises to produce scares (hollywood for you, anything to make a buck from 13 year old girls). As well as being badly paced, the dialogue is also very laughable and bland and overall made the film extremely boring and I struggled to even get through it.

Aside from the very bad CGI, the only reason I gave this half a star was because the cinematography was pretty impressive. Not recommended.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2007
After a somewhat creepy beginning the film bogs down halfway through and never recovers made only worse by a ridiculous explanation of the haunting and a cliched wrap-around ending.
Super Reviewer
½ July 10, 2007
Incomparably awful.
Super Reviewer
½ June 22, 2007
The reason I wasted my time watching this is because it's supposedly based on a true story and I'm quite the supernatural believer. But this film is so terribly awful, I mean I was literally in stitches of laughter when the 'unseen entity' was dragging her around the room by the hair. It' such an unrealistic and degrading film, believe me there is a billion better horror movies out there.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2007
Had potential, and even with the lame-ass "explanation" behind the haunting, might well have succeeded, but was let down in the end by the plain stupidity of the main characters. The girl is continually assaulted by a "ghost" in her bedroom, night after night, right? Wouldn't you think her parents would move her to another room? At the very least take the door off its hinges to keep from being locked out... again and again and again!
Super Reviewer
November 10, 2006
think i saw somin like this on the history chanel
Super Reviewer
July 16, 2006
A great cast but a weak movie. It really had potential to become the next Exorcism of Emily Rose-- which is exactly why it came and went. It tried too hard to capitalize on something novel that had made money one year prior. Too bad. Sissy Spacek and Donal Sutherland must have been desperate for work or they had horrible editors on this film. Sometimes actors think they're taking part in something great until they see the final product and the way it was put together by the editing team. But regardless of that, this movie tried too hard to be scary and tried too hard to deliver a social commentary at its ending. A valiant effort though. It's hard to make a truly scary period piece.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2010
It LOOKED good from the commercials, but was it good? NO!! Was it scary? Not even as a joke.

The dialogue is irritating, cliche, & uninspired. The plot...wait there wasn't one, sorry. It had no scares. The actors were doing alright, but they were dull & lifeless. And to finish it off, the movie itself made no sense. I was wondering if it really was a horror movie.

How many times have we seen the story of a girl who sees a ghost, no ones believes her, & later discovers it was a family member was the cause of it all? Many times in my occasion. "Oh no I made my own ghost because I wouldn't say my own dad was fucking & molesting me in bed" oh c'mon! Were young girls back then so stupid? This movie barely made ANY sense!

Hell even "The Messengers" (with Kristen Stewart) was better, scarier, & made more sense than this horrible movie. This movie permanently lands on #2 of my list of the top 6 WORST horror movies I have ever seen.
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2007
[font=Century Gothic]In "An American Haunting," it is Tennessee in 1817 where landowner John Bell(Donald Sutherland) is found guilty of usury by the church court, charging 20% interest on a loan to a neighbor, Kathe Betts(Gaye Brown). She is allowed to stay on her land but Bell is allowed to retain the profit of the timber from that land. After the trial is over, Betts, a suspected witch, confronts Bell and warns him and his daughter, Betsy(Rachel Hurd-Wood).[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]Months later, things go bump in the night at the Bell household...[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"An American Haunting" is an atmospheric but disjointed movie that has more on its mind than being a simple ghost story. That and a fine resolution to the plot redeem it in the end, even if there is a lot that may seem obvious.[/font]
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