An American Haunting [Unrated] [DVD] [English] [2006]

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Best Buy Customer Reviews

4
Great horror movie! Posted by: from: Winston-Salem, NC on This was a good horror movie, my wife and I liked it. This movie has a good plot which is loosely based on true events. It has a great cast, lots of good jumpy scenes, and a great twist at the end. I highly recommend it! Also, some other great horror movies based on true stories are The Amityville Horror, The Haunting in Connecticut, and The Mothman Prophecies.

3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

1
Could have been a much better "Haunting Posted by: from: Tampa, Fl on he Bell Witch is a legend throughout the Southeastern part of the United States. It is rumored that Pres. Andrew Jackson confronted the entity. Of all the potential stories and variations possible for this legend, this movie obliterated the lore. Many people enjoy the folklore of the Bell Witch and the only known death attributed to a supernatural entity. The movie starts great with good characters, realistic performances, and great effects. About mid-way through, all that changes. Suddenly, the characters fall into aged stereotypes. You will probably already know what those are. The conclusion of the story is utterly predictable. This is a prime situation where they start with good intentions, but fall woefully short of the mark. It's feminism gone painfully awry and you wonder why on earth you wasted 90 minutes when the best part is the first 45.

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

5
An interesting story with a confusing ending Posted by: from: on I've always been interested in those PG-13 horror movies that are almost always dumb, but entertaining nonetheless. Therefore, I rented this movie with low expectations. However, watching it at midnight by myself, I found myself completely intrigued by the film. It honestly gave me the chills. I must've jumped an inch out of my seat at least five times. I can honestly say that I've never actually been scared much by "scary" movies. I've watched classics like The Shining and Carrie without so much as a cringe, as well as newer teen-horrors. An American Haunting is a genuinely creepy movie. The torturing of the Bell family's young daughter Betsy is both disturbing and fascinating; I found I couldn't take my eyes away as she was dangled from the ceiling and repeatedly slapped across the face by an invisible entity. The use of color, switching to black and white, during the ghostly attacks is well done and adds to the mood of fear and confusion. When American Haunting came out last year, I actually planned on going to see it in the theaters. I was intrigued by the mention that it was based on true events, and so I did some research on the real Bell Witch of Tennessee. From what I read and what I saw in the movie, the director did a very nice job of accurately depicting the events without too much hollywood fluff. An American Haunting is a very satisfying ghost story, and worth seeing.

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

5
GOOD OLD FASHIONED HAUNTED HOUSE FLICK Posted by: from: on An American Haunting is based on the haunting of the Bell family, one of the most documented hauntings in American history. Many theories surround what actually happened during the haunting, and this film peruses one that has become most prevalent, at least in the accounts I've read. (I can't tell you what or I'd give away the ending) Both Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek lend a touch of class to a quite horror movie. Yes, this is a haunting, but the images aren't horrific, nor is the action overly exaggerated. Many of the most horrific concepts of the film are cerebral, one has to think them through. You're not beaten over the head with images of monsters, ghosts, or demons in this movie. If that is what you're looking for, this may not be your flick. Overall, it is well done and well made, but one has to pay attention to small details to reap all the intricacies of the plot. Perhaps it is because I've studied this case, but it did not present anything new to me. I was hoping for something more. However, the film did have some strong points such as the acting of Sutherland and Spacek and a second twist ending that left me with enough positives to balance out the negative of a ho-hum plot. If you're looking for a quiet movie to watch on a dark and stormy night, this is probably your movie. If you're looking for something over the top full of gore and monsters, definitely look elsewhere because you'll be disappointed

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

5
A Frightfully Well-Told Tale Posted by: from: (Lawrence, KS on I watch this movie by mistake and I was not interesting to watching at the begining when a friend share it to me because I thought that was a horror movie like "The exorcist" but when I start to watch it, start to interest me... Because I want to understand what was going on, I believe that a curse can change your life, and everything you do in life can affect your family, that's true.. I bought this movie because after see it twice to understand it more... was a great movie with a message, you have to try to understand why the spirit just distub to the girl, for me this spirit was her spirt that take revenge of what happend and try to show to everyone how that happends but no one understand... you have to put attention at the begining of the movie to understand why that happend... for me this is a great movie with a great message, I recommend it to you, there are a great actors, and the movie maintains you anxious all the time

0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

5
the most bone chiling film i ve seen Posted by: from: on Magnificent ! Terrifying ! If any film has made my heckles raise recently - it is this. Typically excellent performances from Sissy Spacek (who just seems to be getting better as she ages) and Donald Sutherland. A strong (mainly English) supporting cast are given clear direction throughout to produce this 'based on actual events' experience. Whilst even the characters in the story remain highly sceptical - the film allows you to make your own decisions about 'what really happened.' From the beginning, you will have a sense of deep foreboding... Do not watch this alone.... and do not watch this without the lights on !

0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

5
Interesting tale on the Bell Witch Posted by: from: on I first heard of the Bell Witch when the movie "An American Haunting" was released in theaters in 2005. I did a little research on the internet, and found a forum discussion in the Paranormal section of [...]. There wasn't much in the way of information about the haunting, but we are talking about an event that is almost 200 years old, and you can expect the information to be a bit scarce. So, when I received a copy of "An American Haunting" to review, I didn't know what to expect. But I was excited, after all, movies about true-life hauntings are a necessity for certain times of the year (A Hallow's Eve), aren't they! The movie doesn't waste any time in getting to the action, and right away I found myself perched on the edge of the couch, wondering what was going to happen. And the entire movie was like that. It wasn't until the very end that I had one of those "Ah ha" moments and received a bit of clarity about the story-line. Set in rural Tennessee in the early 1800s, "An American Haunting" is based on the true story of a spirit who repeatedly brutally attacks the Bell family (and actually causes the death of one of the family members). The movie stars Donald Sutherland as John Bell, Sissy Spacek as his wife Lucy and Rachel Hurd-Wood as their daughter Betsy. Their story starts off with John Bell having a heated argument with a woman who is rumored to be a witch. After their argument, things start happening at the Bell home. At first it's just small noises, but soon the spirit encounters become violent, and center on the daughter, Betsy. I'm glad I wasn't too familiar with the legend of the Bell Witch, because I didn't worry about whether the story was following the legend or not, and I just enjoyed the movie for what it was -- haunting and scary! And I think that just knowing it was based on a real haunting made it even scarier. The acting was great, and the scenery was absolutely stunning! The visual effects were believable and not too crazy. The story itself was not just a horror movie, but truly a psychological thriller that kept you wondering until the end what was going on. A great thriller anytime, but definitely now part of my Halloween scary movie watching tradition, "An American Haunting" is a great movie for anyone who loves a good ghost story; especially those stories of real-life hauntings.

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

5
A tad confusing yet entertaining Posted by: from: Clinton, Mississippi on not too bad but if you are interested in facts about the Bell Witch, this is not the movie to see. The movie is lacking some key elements of the real legend, adds others that are completely wrong and the end is only one of possible explanations (which the movie does state), and to my knowledge, one of the least plausible. But it is entertaining - has some good creepy moments and Donald Sutherland & Sissy Spacek are, of course, both great.

0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

2
Mediocre Horror Film Posted by: from: washington, dc on I had high expectations for this film, looked like a great horror story based on a real haunting. It turns out the movie's interpretation of the film is not scary after all, but more of a disturbing relationship within the family. I would recommend researching the legend of Bell Witch before watching the film.

0 out of 2 found this review helpful.

5
Nearly fell of my bed!! Posted by: from: on In An American Haunting, a heavily stylistic gothic mode piece, things really do go bump in the night. Well, not so much bump, but more like thrashing around. Along with banging noises in the attic, slamming doors and windows, spinning clocks, shaking beds, rabid beasts, disappearing children, the movie offers up a barrage of sights and sounds and spooky shocks. Heavy on the atmosphere, An American Haunting is supposedly a true story of the Bell Witch incident of 1818-21, which is supposed the most documented paranormal event in America and the only case that officially attributed a man's death to a spirit. The film uses a present-day framing device in which an adolescent girl is haunted by nightmares of an invisible intruder after discovering an old journal, an ancient doll and an equally ancient letter. When her mother starts reading the journal, the film flashes back to the early 1800's where the Bell family of Tennessee is in a spot of bother. Up until now, Mr. Bell (Donald Sutherland) has been a respected figure in the community but it seems that he has charged a certain Kate Batts (Gaye Brown) 20% interest on a loan and then used her failure to pay, to take the land he was renting from her. The court offers a kind of quasi-religious judgment saying it was usury, but when the judges don't exact enough punishment, Batt's puts a curse on Bell and his beautiful teenage daughter Betsy (Rachel Hurd-Wood). It doesn't take long for spirits to appear and what starts out as something sounding like squirrels banging in the attic turns into a full-blown poltergeist as Betsy's covers are pulled off her bed and she's thrust around her bedroom hanging from her hair and smacked across the face. Whilst Betsy's father gradually deteriorates, falling ill, and seems resigned to his fate, is wife Lucy Mother Lucy (Sissy Spacek) and son John Jr. (Thom Fell) are really concerned, but haven't a clue what to do. Documenting the unsettling events in his journal is Betsy's initially skeptical teacher (James D'Arcy), whose attraction to the girl is encouraged by Lucy for grim reasons made clear in the film's final moments. The performances are all strong, especially from veterans Sutherland and Spacek, and the revelation when it comes is actually quite a surprise. The pacing is tight and the period detail and the sense of time and place is beautifully wraught. Pulse-quickening elements abound, from cinematographer Adrian Biddle's circular camerawork, in wintry Bucharest and Montreal locations, to the dynamic sound design and Caine Davidson's all-enveloping musical score. Some may find the episodes where Betsy is being tossed around in her bed, dragged across the floor, held suspended in midair and slapped by an invisible entity, a bit silly. And there's a real question mark over how much of these events are actually true and how much has been embellished for the film. Still, the movie manages to boast a gothic visual atmosphere that's quite appropriate for this type of story. Those eerie forests, dimly lit rooms, washed-out dreamscapes, and dark rainy nights really give you a creepy feeling and really help perpetuate the foreboding ambience that something is not quite right at Bell House.

1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

2
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