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An American Haunting (Unrated Edition)


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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...

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

Product Details

  • Actors: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood, James D'Arcy, Matthew Marsh
  • Directors: Courtney Solomon
  • Writers: Courtney Solomon, Brent Monahan
  • Producers: Alessandro Fracassi, Allan Zeman, Andrei Boncea, André Rouleau, Christopher Milburn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (351 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HC2LFI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,995 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "An American Haunting (Unrated Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By William R. Hancock on 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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54 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Review Lover on July 6, 2006
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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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By TRFB VINE VOICE on August 10, 2007
Format: DVD
Terribly put together, this movie doesn't deliver in any area. The only jumps I experienced was the synchronized music with the hand-out-of-no-where-on-the-shoulder routine. I won't spoil the movie in case you do decide to rent it, just don't buy it. However, I'll tell you why I didn't like it. The direction of the movie was extremely disjointed. Most of the time you are thrown around in flashbacks, and flashforwards, that you get lost. You wonder, "Now, did that just happen? Or is it going to happen? Or is it happening?" When you wonder through the film like that, it's pretty frustrating.

The acting was great. The actors portrayed their characters very well. It's just the story AND the directing and editing.

The end of the story and the real reason why this is all happening to them is such a let down. The bad part is they don't reveal what's happening until the very, very end and by that time you have already wasted 75 minutes of an 80 minute movie!!! What a rip off.

If you like movies about hauntings and how it's linked to a story, I HIGHLY recommend "The Changeling" with George C. Scott. It's an old movie. I think in the 70's or 80's, but, it's a MUCH better film than this one. I recommend you DON'T buy this movie, but if you must see it. See it for free on cable. Don't waste your money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Pandolfi on May 5, 2006
I must have missed something in "An American Haunting"; because the story is only an interpretation of a genuine documented case, the facts are speculative at best. This means that there are many possible explanations as to the nature of this haunting. Yes, the filmmakers offered an explanation by the end of the film, but I'll be damned if I understood it. It was the kind of plot twist that left more questions than answers, and not in a way that added a delightfully playful air of mystery. It was a rushed, half-hearted attempt, as if the intention was to provide a convenient solution in order to end the movie more quickly. Obviously I don't know if this was the case, but whatever the circumstances, it was enough to turn the story into something it was most likely never meant to be: elusive and confusing.

I can't say whether or not it matters that this is based on a true story (as retold in the book by Brent Monahan). I say this because, in reality, no one has any idea how many of the facts were altered, omitted, or substituted. I have no doubt that the people behind this movie took major creative licenses, enhancing the story to make it more appealing to a mass audience. Oddly enough, this doesn't bother me too much; what does bother me is when the details are construed so badly that the end result is difficult to comprehend. I remember seeing "The Amityville Horror" (both the original and the remake) and feeling the same way I felt about "An American Haunting": it was a reinterpretation of a documented event whose details were garbled and ultimately unsatisfying.

The movie opens in present day Red River, Tennessee. A young girl wakes up screaming after having a nightmare; she was being chased through the snow and her house by an evil (yet unseen) being.
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