An American Haunting (2005)

4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 4/10

Decent acting

Bad story and visuals

Movie Info

Movie Name:  An American Haunting

Studio:  Freestyle Releasing

Genre(s): Movie Genre

Release Date(s):  November 5, 2005 (AFI Fim Festival)/April 14, 2006 (UK)/May 5, 2006 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Just end this now…

A woman digging through her family’s past finds a tale of horror and possession.  The Bell family of Adams, Tennessee have been cursed.  Their youngest daughter Betsy (Rachel Hurd-Wood ) has nightly visits from a spirit which attacks and abuses her.  The suspect in the attacks is Kathy Batts (Gaye Grown) who John Bell (Donald Sutherland) wronged in a land deal, but as the horror continues the truth about the Bell Witch might be more sinister.

Directed by Courtney Solomon, An American Haunting is an adaptation of the old Bell Witch folklore which has been present for years.  Allegedly based on true events which began in 1817, the Bell Witch’s story is interwoven with story of one of the Bell’s descendants.  The movie was panned and faired poorly at the box office.


Honey, are you happy to be part of a weak framework story?

An American Haunting came out with a flood of possession stories.  The film however is neither scary nor well-written.  Instead, you have a rather dull (but relatively short) story about possession that’s biggest advantage is its cast.

An American Haunting dips into old tales for its base.  The Bell Witch and the haunting of the Bell family has been a part of folklore and touched upon by other films like The Blair Witch Project have borrowed from the legend.  The movie takes this halfway scary tale and presents it in a way that is almost like a TV movie.  The story also reveals that the Bell Witch is almost a form of defense for Betsy and that her father has been molesting her.  The movie combines this with a modern story and it is implied that the witch might be back to help the modern daughter from molestation.  It is a bit of a twist, but also a rather weak twist.


You know after the spirit finishes raping you that you’re going to have to clean up these feathers…

The movie has a decent cast.  The movie has veteran actors Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland holding down as the parents of the Bell clan…unfortunately despite decent casting, they don’t have much of a script to work with.  They do what they can with it, but in general the movie fails.

With a rather weak story, I think the movie should at least be loaded with jumps…it isn’t.  The movie has the typical generic “haunting” images that have been done over and over again with no originality…and almost laughable moments.  With all this going against the film, at least some of the imagery is put together with some flare.

An American Haunting is a rather weak entry in the world haunted movies.  With a lot of style and no substance it is a rather forgettable and skipable movie.  Check out one of the multiple possession tales instead of this snoozer.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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