An American Haunting (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

An American Haunting (2006)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

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

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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 dark turn when strange noises around the farm are followed by the arrival of a black wolf with piercing yellow eyes said to strike unspeakable fear into the very soul of all who encounter it. As the sadistic spirit singles out the youngest daughter of the Bell family for torment and her frightened parents search frantically for a rational explanation to the chilling events unfolding in their once-happy home, an eerie, disembodied voice promises death from beyond the grave. With the struggle rapidly turning violent and the Bells' desperate prayers for mercy going unanswered time and again, the shocking murder that followed would prove the only case in recorded American history where the death of a human being was directly attributed to an attack by an evil entity or spirit.

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Cast

Donald Sutherland
as John Bell Sr.
Sissy Spacek
as Lucy Bell
James D'Arcy
as Richard Powell
Rachel Hurd-Wood
as Betsy Bell
Matthew Marsh
as James Johnston
Thom Fell
as John Bell Jr.
Sam Alexander
as Josh Gardner
Gaye Brown
as Kathryn Batts
Zoe Thorne
as Theny Thorne
Lila Bata-Walsh
as Little Girl
Madalina Stan
as Ethereal Girl
Philip Hurdwood
as Partygoer
Vlad Cruceru
as Richard Bell (Aged 4)
Alin Rosca
as Joel Bell (Aged 10)
Andrei Serban
as Joel Bell (Aged 6)
Susan Almgren
as Elizabeth, Mother
Courtney Solomon
as Entity Voice
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Critic Reviews for An American Haunting

All Critics (68) | Top Critics (19)

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.

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.

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

Audience Reviews for An American Haunting

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.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

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

Bruce Bruce
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.

Lee ?
Lee ?

Super Reviewer

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