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Running Time:
hour, 31 minutes1

Rating: PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.

Rating Explanation:
for intense terror sequences and thematic material.

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
This dull ghost story has wasted some fine actors.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: 16x9 widescreen version; 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround EX audio; 2.0 Dolby Digital audio; Director's video commentary; Alternate and deleted scenes; Internet promotions; Interview with director Courtney Solomon and actress Sissy Spacek ; English and Spanish subtitles; Trailer and TV spots

An American Haunting
This is reputed to be the only case in U.S. history where the government has held supernatural forces responsible for a manís death. It took place in rural Tennessee and was known as the Bell Witch incident. Much of the film is a flashback to a period during the first administration of James Monroe, 190 years ago. The Tennessee family is in a bit of trouble since father John Bell (Donald Sutherland "Pride & Prejudice") charged a certain Kate Batts (Gaye Brown "The Rocky Horror Picture Show") 20% interest on a loan. When she didn't pay up Bell took possesion of the land he was renting from her. The court ruled that this was usury but when the court didn't exact enough punishment from Bell, she put a curse on him and his daughter Betsy (Rachel Hurd-Wood - Wendy in "Peter Pan").

It all starts slowly with weird noises around the house and then escalates into certain family members being dragged out of bed and physically abused by an unseen force, right in front of the rest of the family and other eyewitnesses unfortunate enough to find themselves caught in the middle of this supernatural chaos. Mother Lucy (Sissy Spacek "In The Bedroom") and son John Jr. (newcomer Thom Fell) are really concerned about this. Lucy gets the local preacher (Matthew Marsh "Spy Game") to perform a sťance, but this doesn't work have a positive result. Then the local skeptic and school teacher Richard Powell (James D'Arcy "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World") arrives on the scene, and eventually someone dies.

The film directed by Courtney Solomon ("Dungeons & Dragons") is full of nothing but familiar horror movie episodes including: someone being levitated and smacked around, a creaky window exploding, a spooky little girl standing silently in a corner, furniture sliding around the room. You've seen all of them before. Even if you've never seen a haunted house movie, you shouldn't start with this one. And even if you love most scary movies, this one really won't frighten or even entertain you very much.

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