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American Haunting, An
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American Haunting, An (2005)

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Plot Summary:
"Based on true events validated by the State of Tennessee of the only case in US History where a spirit or entity caused the death of a man. With over 20 books written on the subject, and a town that still lives in fear of the return of the unseen spirit, the story of "An American Haunting" is terrifying."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 18 April 2006 My Rating: out of 5


This tale, which is based on the true events surrounding the Bell Witch case, was actually one of the more enjoyable horror movies of late, despite the fact that there is perhaps a little bit of misrepresentation going on stateside with the newly edited trailer.

The film opens in present day America and leads one of its characters and the audience to uncover the titular haunting, before tying things up in a suitably eerie fashion. It is well documented that in 1818 the Bell family of Tennessee were plagued by a series of ghostly events. It was largely thought to be as a result of a curse placed on the family by a disgruntled local witch named Kate.

The film looks beautiful, with a lot of attention to detail going on here, despite the fact that this was a low budget indie production.

The cast, which includes horror thesps Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek, are very well selected, as is Rachel Hurd - Wood who takes on the deeply challenging role of Betsy Bell.

All sorts of practical effects terrify and chill and the storyline really draws you in and commands your attention, until the not totally unfathomable finale leaves you both disgusted and saddened.

With many more films set to tell this tale in the coming months, I'm glad that this one hit screens first, as it's an effective sleepy little chiller with plenty of well orchestrated boo scares making full effect of orchestral stingers and booming sound design. Comparisons to The Exorcism of Emily Rose have already been made, but whilst both films are actually very different, they are equally as good.

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