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An American Haunting

An American Haunting

Courtney Solomon (2005)

86min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Writer/director Courtney Solomon makes amends for his appalling 2000 debut Dungeons & Dragons with this efficient but predictable supernatural chiller. Based on the legend of the so-called Bell Witch of Tennessee, it sees a wealthy and respected family in early 19th-century America besieged by an aggressive poltergeist. For four years, the spook terrorised the household, singling out John Bell (Donald Sutherland) and his only daughter Betsy (Rachel Hurd-Wood) in increasingly vicious attacks. Every haunting movie from The Exorcist to The Entity is referenced in the disturbing events, to offer a carefully constructed patchwork of fear. However, while individual elements may seem familiar, they're no less effective and hit all the right scary notes thanks to taut direction and a ruthless exploitation of sound and visuals. The acting is also of unusually high quality, with understated performances from Sutherland and his screen wife Sissy Spacek adding depth to a simplistic yet genuinely creepy story.

Summary

A couple in early 1800s Tennessee are disturbed by terrifying events linked to an apparently supernatural presence inside their home. Lacking any rational explanation, the trouble is blamed on a vengeful neighbour, who is a suspected witch. Meanwhile, the situation becomes critical when their daughter is possessed by a spirit that threatens to destroy her. Horror, based on a true story, with Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood and James D'Arcy.

Cast & Crew

John Bell Donald Sutherland
Lucy Bell Sissy Spacek
Betsy Bell Rachel Hurd-Wood
Richard Powell James D'Arcy
James Johnston Matthew Marsh
John Bell Jr Thom Fell
Joshua Gardner Sam Alexander
Theny Thorn Zoë Thorne
Chloe Miquel Brown
Anky Shauna Shim
Director Courtney Solomon
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Other Information

Language: English Colour and Black and White Theatrical distributor: Redbus Guidance: Violence, swearing. Available on: Available on DVD Released on: 14 Apr 2006

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