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An American Haunting (Unrated Edition) (2006)

Donald Sutherland , Sissy Spacek , Courtney Solomon  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)

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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: 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: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (283 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HC2LFI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,397 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
49 of 57 people found the following review helpful
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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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stylish Shivvers/Shakey History October 31, 2006
"An American Haunting" is a film that can be evaluated to two levels; one, as a 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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Rachel Hurd-Wood was sensational in this film! October 2, 2006
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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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Stop Your Crying Courtney - Your Film Is Not That Good February 11, 2007
I am so bothered by this DVD, that I don't even know where to begin. So let's start with zero stars and go from there.

Starting with the film itself: Decent acting all around. Decent special effects. Some nice camera work and cinematography. All in all, sets the right mood and delivers a polished output. +1 star for that.

Now, for the script: Just awful. There was no plot to speak of. The same scene was repeated over and over again with little to no variation on the theme. The big "surprise" ending was completely anti-climactic because the characters were never developed enough for you to care one way or the other. Overall, just an absolutely boring story and an even worse script to boot. No points here.

Finally, let's move to the special features: I can appreciate the way that director Courtney Solomon tries to be cutting edge by breaking away from the traditional director commentary and launching into a tirade against Hollywood. But, c'mon man. This was just ridiculous. In some ways, it's worth renting the movie just to see it for yourself. But, to summarize, he sits in a car with an unknown woman by his side and proceeds to bash movie critics and the entire film industry in general. He goes on to tell us how he planted his own reviews, or, worse, how he countered those that he felt were not "legitimate" (defined, I'm sure, as those reviews that did not agree with his own self-inflated opinion of this movie). And then he goes on to talk about how evil all movie critics are and how they can all essentially be bought. If this is true, why did the movie get such poor reviews? Since he obviously spent all sorts of money hiring his own internet crawlers, maybe he should have spent a few extra dollars to buy off a critic or two.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars well done but confusing
This movie is well done and Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek do a great acting job. The story line is a bit confusing but intriguing. I think I will watch it again. Read more
Published 10 hours ago by Kristin Zanetell
2.0 out of 5 stars If you want to be bored to tears, this is for you.
Walks like a duck, talks like a duck............Has all the trappings of a quality old school horror film but ultimately is a waste of time. Read more
Published 1 day ago by tombones
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it
I was actually expecting it to be horrible, but it was not bad at all. I actually rather enjoyed it. Read more
Published 5 days ago by NicoleG
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great movie
Published 5 days ago by megan peters
3.0 out of 5 stars Scary at times, but...
Decent, but moves quickly. Pretty twisted there at the end, though. In an uncomfortable sort of way. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Melissa Kear
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting...
This movie was awesome! Suspenseful and the ending was a surprise.
Published 10 days ago by Angelique R. Juarez
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Ending!
The ending was pretty awesome, not what a thought was going to happen at all. Well written movie
Published 12 days ago by Bruce Baker
2.0 out of 5 stars Not An Accurate Portrayal of accounts.
I grew up around the area portrayed in this movie. I have read every book pertaining to the Bell Family as it relates to the Bell Witch. Read more
Published 18 days ago by BITHIAH
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Suspenseful! Kept me on the edge of my seat!
Published 23 days ago by Debra L. Eaton
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
It was pretty repetitive. Not too exciting.
Published 24 days ago by Diane Nicosia
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