An American Haunting (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  5 May 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 21,596 users   Metascore: 38/100
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Based on the true events of the only case in US History where a spirit caused the death of a man.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Betsy Bell / Entity Voice
Zoe Thorne ...
Theny Thorn (as Zoë Thorne)
Gaye Brown ...
Sam Alexander ...
Miquel Brown ...
Elder #1
Madalina Stan ...
Ethereal Girl
Partygoer (as Phillip Hurd-Wood)
Vlad Cruceru ...


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Possession Knows No Bounds

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense terror sequences and thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |


Release Date:

5 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Apariciones  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£541,446 (UK) (14 April 2006)


$430,745 (Brazil) (6 October 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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 bed sheet is being pulled up over Betsy, right when the lightning flashes, a string or wire is clearly visible. See more »


John Bell: You were always a sound sleeper.
See more »


References Monster (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Sound, Visuals Overwhelm Weaker Story
18 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

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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Is the base story really famous among US-born American? (I'm Japanese) rapzip1
Scariest, True Life Stories Continued missykat
There's no such thing as ghosts! cardpages
Based on Bret Monahan's book...but is book fact or fiction? orachel54
What happen in the car at the end? Zaine
The Beginning/End... bowmanblue
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