Film Review: An American Haunting, dir. Courtney Solomon

Based on the true story of The Bell Witch of Tennessee, and starring Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek, 'An American Haunting' is a forceful movie which should satisfy all fans of the horror genre. 

Adapted from Brent Monahan’s acclaimed book, ‘The Bell Witch: An American Haunting’, the film tells the well-documented story of the wealthy and respected Bell family who lived in Robertson County, Tennessee in the nineteenth century. 

John Bell and his family are terrorised by an evil and noisy spirit known as ‘Old Kate’, who moves into their home and torments them for four years. ‘Old Kate’ targets John and his daughter Betsy viciously, before finally finding her voice and putting a death sentence on John - who is then dead within the year.

This is only the second film for director, producer and screenwriter Courtney Solomon, but it is poles apart from his unsatisfying first film, ‘Dungeons & Dragons’. While it offers nothing new, but plays it safe with all the usual horror-movie ingredients: atmospheric lighting, creepy crawling camera movements, sudden bursts of intense sound … it is still highly effective!

Although it could be accused of being formulaic, ‘An American Haunting’ still manages to deliver the punches and offers a roller-coaster of a horror flick with all the shriek-inducing scares one would expect. 

'An American Haunting' is on UK nationwide release, 14th April 2006