Andrew Garfield, Mahershala Ali, Ruth Negga, and five others received their first-ever acting nominations for 2017. While these actors are new to the Academy Awards, you may recognize them from their earlier work.
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 »
In a night scene where the light from the candles and fireplace are systematically blown out, James Johnston immediately picks up his Bible and begins reading in the dark. See more »
I really don't have any major complaints about the film except it was more of a visual-audio experience than a memorable story. That makes me wonder how times I would watch this, since I already own a lot of great visual movies. Cinematography-wise, this film reminded me a bit of Sleepy Hollow, but not quite as dramatically filmed as that. There also is excellent 5.1surround sound in here. Being a ghost story, and one that is trying to scare the viewer here and there, sudden jolts of sound is important and utilized well here.
I also appreciated this was done without almost any profanity and with famous actors like Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. I expected some Bible-bashing since that's normally the case in these ghost or witch stories, but it wasn't bad here. However, the "surprise" almost political-correctness ending didn't really surprise me, considering how films are these days.
A decent movie but 50-50 whether I would watch it again.
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