In 2006, in Red River, Tennessee, a teenager has frequent nightmares. Her mother reads an old letter from 1817 written by her ancestor, Lucy Bell. After a dispute of lands judged by the church, her husband John Bell is cursed by his opponent Kathe Batts, who has a fame of being a witch. From this moment on, an entity threatens John and her daughter Betsy Bell, attacking the girl during the nights. With the support of Betsy's school teacher Richard Powell, who tries to find rational explanations for the manifestation; her brother John Bell Jr.; and their friend James Johnston, who unsuccessfully tries to exorcize the entity from the house, the family does their best to protect Betsy in the haunted house. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The movie is actually based on a purportedly true story. Andrew Jackson was quoted as saying, "I would rather take on the entire English Fleet than stay one night at the Bell House," however his presence at the house is disputed and there are no official records that confirm he was actually present or witnessed any supernatural activity. The haunting is documented in M. V. Ingram's 1894 book, An Authenticated History of The Famous Bell Witch. This movie was based on the book by Brent Monahan,The Bell Witch: An American Haunting the Famous Bell Witch. However, the Ingram book has been called into question by researchers, who have noted that it's based on secondhand accounts and that no firsthand accounts to the haunting survive, and records from the time have not supported the story of the haunting. The Ingram book calls on quotes from letters and diaries but those documents no longer exist (if they ever did) and it is impossible to verify if the haunting actually happened or if it was a hoax or an early urban legend. Some researchers have even raised the possibility that the Ingram book was actually a work of fiction now mistakenly believed to be a factual account. See more »
When the evil force is ripping the pages out of James Johnston's bible, it can be seen that each of the pages are in fact all the same. See more »
The only scary thing about this film was how many 13-year-old girls turned up to the theater to watch this on opening night.
Since most of the movie was utterly disappointing, I will start with the only positive aspect, Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. Both of these actors played their part well and if it weren't for such a terrible story and generic scare tactics, they may have been able to save the movie. Alas, like many of the PG-13 horror films of today not even good acting can make up for a shady plot, bad directing and terrible editing. The film is based on the poltergeist story involving a family in rural Tennessee in the early 1800's. The story is filled with the garbled and incoherent dreams of seemingly possessed Betsy Bell, played by Rachel Hurd-Wood. In a movie built around a ghost story it was disappointing to see cheap scare tactics instead of making the movie all around eerie. I am not sure what director Courtney Solomon was thinking when he chose to film the movie with a style similar to a low budget "hack 'em slash 'em" film from the 80's, but clearly there are better ways of scaring an audience. While the filming style could have used some work, the editing and special effects were a disaster. It mostly resembled a bad soap opera. It jumps around between dreams and reality faster than Ricky Williams' in a Marijuana haze. A movie like this doesn't need a whole lot of special effects but the few that it had were terrible and even ruined the scenes. The poltergeist was nothing more than Betsy with a slight hue around her.
The only scary thing about this film was how many 13-year-old girls turned up to the theater to watch this on opening night. As a fan of horror films I understand if you want to judge this for yourself, but listen to my words wisely; don't bother.
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