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 »
Right after John Bell gets knocked out by the door slamming shut, the "spirit" re-opens the door. A hand can be seen quickly pulling away from the knob on the other side. See more »
Despite being based on one of the most famous ghost stories in American history and including a solid cast, this 'horror' film is anything but scary, dramatic, or even interesting. Instead, the flick is largely boring, confusing, and poorly executed. Even though it clocks in at a running time of just 90 minutes or so, the film drags throughout most of the non-horror scenes, and even through some of the so-called 'scary' moments. All of it leads up to a conclusion that is baffling, illogical, and very stupid. The twist is one of the least sensible of its kind in recent memory, as there is nothing in the film, up to that point, to warrant such a move. Pretty much a terrible film.
Though the cast looks solid on paper, the acting here is quite bad. Everyone looks like they're just picking up a paycheck, from Sutherland, who looks bored, to Spacek, who's never been more shrill, to Rachel Hurd-Word, who attempts to do her best Linda Blair impression but ends up just screaming and staring around wide-eyed most of the time. The direction is absolutely abysmal, as all scenes with the spirit look incredibly amateurish with the swooping camera, and, for some reason, are shot in black and white. Although it's clear this was done with some foolish artistic idea in mind, it ends up standing out terribly and erases any small amount of suspense or tension that might have been built up. Most of the suspense, though, is destroyed by the absolutely atrocious editing, which is, at once, frustrating, annoying, and pointless. It all adds up to a lame excuse for a horror film.
The only thing that saves this from being a complete waste is that there are some cool visuals, and occasionally some decent cinematography. Other than that, though, this is an abomination of film, with terrible acting, dreadful directing, and awful editing. A complete waste of time.
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