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/Entity voice Rachel Hurd-Wood
Richard Powell James D'Arcy
James Johnston Matthew Marsh
John Bell Jr Thom Fell
Joshua Gardner Sam Alexander
Kathe Batts Gaye Brown
Director Courtney Solomon
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: RedbusGuidance: Violence, swearing.Available on: DVD
Drama