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An American Haunting (Unrated Edition) (2006)

Donald Sutherland , Sissy Spacek , Courtney Solomon  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)

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An American Haunting (Unrated Edition) + The Haunting in Connecticut (Single-Disc Edition) + A Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
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Product Details

  • Actors: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood, James D'Arcy, Matthew Marsh
  • Directors: Courtney Solomon
  • Writers: Courtney Solomon, Brent Monahan
  • Producers: Simon Franks, Zygi Kamasa, Robert Little, Lawrence Steven Meyers, Julien Remillard
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: October 24, 2006
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (227 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HC2LFI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,324 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An American Haunting (Unrated Edition)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Video commentary by director Courtney Solomon
  • Alternate and deleted scenes
  • Interview with director Courtney Solomon and actress Sissy Spacek
  • Internet promotions
  • Trailer and TV spots

Editorial Reviews

In 1818, the family began to experience disturbances on their property. At first, slight, unexplained noises, but the spirit began to grow, becoming aggressive and singling out the father, John, and his only daughter Betsy. The family desperately searched for the cause of the spirit in the hope of finding a way of defeating it, but the spirit continued its brutal assault. It developed voicesand began speaking to the family, but refusing to say why it was there. Then, finally it pronounced a death sentence on John. Within a year, he was dead. Sho rtly, thereafter, the spirit left the family in peace, but never the same. It would not be until years later that we would be taken back to the terrible night the spirit was born and find out the horrific truth about its nature and origin...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
John Bell (Donald Sutherland), convicted of Usury, is plagued by a vengeful poltergeist who seems to focus on his beloved only daughter Betsy. All fingers point to the town witch, of whom Bell has made an enemy, but could the real culprit be someone closer to home?

The Bell Witch legend isn't something I am familiar with, so when I sat down to watch this movie, I saw simply a movie, and not an iterpretation of historical fact. In a sense, I think it's better that I knew nothing about the legend (which is, now that I've read a little about it, extremely interesting) beforehand, since I'm able to judge the movie as a movie in its own right.

And you know what? It's actually not that bad.

Performances, despite the titanic talents of Sutherland and Sissy Spacek as his wife Lucy, manage to be a little mundane - not bad, just not particularly memorable. The dialogue is pretty stop-startish, too: some sentences are so pretentious as to be nauseating, but for the most part, it's not too bad.

Direction and cinematography are hugely effective: Courtney Solomon and Adrian Biddle make a formidable team, and in one hugely important area, "An American Haunting" succeeds where 99% of all modern American horror movies fail miserably: visually, it's very engaging, very stylish and very satisfying to look at. THANKFULLY, special effects are kept to a bare minimum and the fear factor is magnified because of this - the suggestiveness of the visuals creates more fear than the actual onscreen events.

The audio is excellent, too, and it's very refreshing to find a movie that uses sound effects in such a complimentary way.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish Shivvers/Shakey History October 31, 2006
Format:DVD
"An American Haunting" is a film that can be evaluated to two levels; one, as a movie...an exercise in visual storytelling...with a beginning, a middle, and an end...and with rationales and explanations for what transpires in the course of its storyline; and , secondly, as a recounting of an historical event, with the evaluation being on how close to the known facts and "truths" of that event the movie story adheres to.

As a movie, "An American Haunting" (based on a NOVEL; Brent Monahan's "The Bell Witch-An American Haunting") works rather well. Exquisitely photographed in Romania (doubling for early 18th century Tennessee) by Adrian Biddle, the film is replete with stunning tracking(some of this in the frenetic style of "The Evil Dead")and pan work, and some steadicam revolving shots that are nothing short of marvelous. The lighting is sumptuously atmospheric and all the other technical contributions, from editing, sound, sound effects,special effects, etc., are first rate. It has been said by some that this film has a lot of the look and feel of "Sleepy Hollow", and I must concur there
and state that this says a lot for "Haunting", since "Sleepy Hollow's" cinematic structure was superb.

The acting performances in this film are superb as well. Donald Sutherland is terrific as the breaking-down-by-the-day John Bell, Sissy Spacek grounds it all stoically as mother Lucy, and Rachel Hurd-Wood is excellent as the put-upon by "something" Betsy Bell, the primary focus of the action. All other cast members deliver solidly in their own roles as well.

The movie story is told in flashback as a modern mother, a Bell descendant, reads over a old manuscript that retells the story of the 1817-1820 poltergeist manifestation.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Rachel Hurd-Wood was sensational in this film! October 2, 2006
Format:DVD
This is the best haunted house movie that I have seen in many years, possibly even the best that I have ever seen! Most of the credit goes to lovely young British actress Rachel Hurd-Wood who was by far the star of the film. She played the part of the tormented teenage heroine perfectly. Never did a girl scream or look scared like Rachel did in An American Haunting! I will watch this DVD over and over again. This is the best horror film that I have seen in many years! Adorable Rachel has a very bright future ahead of her! She was great in Peter Pan, but she put in an even better performance here!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This thing sucked so bad !!! June 5, 2007
Format:DVD
Oh, What a lousy film ! It had potential for a very creepy and moody 19th century supernatural thriller, but instead it was hashed out as an embarrassing and laughable attempt at something that almost qualifies as a weekend filler on the Lifetime Network or ABC Family. Most historical accounts of the Bell Witch are admittedly based on arguably validated fabrications that attempt to outdo themselves with each successive evolution, and some accounts (true or not) are quite scary. This movie doesn't really follow any of them, and instead capitalizes on a known legend and dresses it up with levitations, ghost wolves, and creaky floorboards. They couldn't even use the clichés properly. (The levitation and slapping scenes made me laugh)

As a positive, some of the wolf scenes are well done (such as being chased in the forest) despite the fact that it does nothing for the story. Also, the stagecoach flipping was an exceptionally executed stunt.

However, there are a few shots of the wolf (prancing under the window or trying to evade the flipping stagecoach through the fog) on which the obvious CG work was so poor that I found it a distraction.

Finally, the acting was so subpar that it seems a waste to have used such high powered talent...unless they were being blackmailed or being paid scale, I can't make sense of that one.

Avoid this movie. It is not scary.

It sucks.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Snoozer version of an interesting story
The Bell Witch piqued my interest when I lived in Tennessee for a few years, and I have enjoyed reading the various accounts. Read more
Published 23 hours ago by AmyS
4.0 out of 5 stars House of Spirits
Supposedly a true story, does not matter it is a good movie. Lots of chills and goosebumps during the movie. Read more
Published 1 day ago by the bone
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Horror
Decent horror, but not enough to have me at the edge of my seat. Decent acting and a surprise ending.
Published 1 day ago by U. Cason
3.0 out of 5 stars Always the same. Hunted homes
It's not bad. Hunted homes movie should change. It is becoming old now. It's always the same. Family moves in and do not believe in spirit then they start believing in it, then... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Muhnad
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good movie
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. I saw a lot of people being harsh about it in other comments. I don't understand why.
Published 3 days ago by Julie
1.0 out of 5 stars Nothing like the Bell Witch story.
I watched because of my interest in the Bell Witch story. This was nothing like it...it was entertaining for about 10 minutes then I was through watching and just let it be... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Halley
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Haunting - DVD
Product arrived in excellent condition but I have not yet viewed this movie yet so I cannot comment on its content. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Jimmy C.
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary Movies
I am not happy unless I see a scary movie that makes me have to look in corners. But is hard sometimes to see a good horror flick. I watch them anyway.
Published 27 days ago by Sheryl V. Washington
3.0 out of 5 stars Love horror movies
I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes horror movies. The thing I liked best about the movie .... no blood and guts it had a story line to it.
Published 1 month ago by Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars must see
This movie us riveting, frightening, full of surprises. ... kept me on the edge of my seat. Will watch again.
Published 1 month ago by kristine g jaramillo
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