Down 855 this week

An American Haunting (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  5 May 2006 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.0/10 from 21,582 users   Metascore: 38/100
Reviews: 746 user | 123 critic | 18 from

Based on the true events of the only case in US History where a spirit caused the death of a man.



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 38 titles
created 18 May 2011
a list of 41 titles
created 29 Sep 2013
a list of 24 titles
created 13 Sep 2014
a list of 49 titles
created 3 weeks ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: An American Haunting (2005)

An American Haunting (2005) on IMDb 5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of An American Haunting.
4 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

After a family is forced to relocate for their son's health, they begin experiencing supernatural behavior in their new home, and uncover a sinister history.

Director: Peter Cornwell
Stars: Virginia Madsen, Martin Donovan, Elias Koteas
American Haunting (TV Series 2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

"American Haunting" takes a unique look inside the terrifying lives of families encountering paranormal phenomena within their own homes, witnessing first-hand the frightening incidents ... See full summary »

Stars: Patrice Ryan, Chris Sanders, Sarah Soderlund
The Possession I (2012)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl's father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.

Director: Ole Bornedal
Stars: Natasha Calis, Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

The Bell Witch is a ghost story of American Southern Folklore. It's a tale of a sinister spirit who haunted the Bell family in Robertson County, Tennessee for a period of four years. The ... See full summary »

Director: Zac Adams
Stars: Lynn Hoffman, Victor Baggett, Bob Bell
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A young family moves into a historic home in Georgia, only to learn they are not the house's only inhabitants. Soon they find themselves in the presence of a secret rising from underground and threatening to bring down anyone in its path.

Director: Tom Elkins
Stars: Abigail Spencer, Chad Michael Murray, Katee Sackhoff
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

An ominous darkness invades a seemingly serene sunflower farm in North Dakota, and the Solomon family is torn apart by suspicion, mayhem and murder.

Directors: Oxide Pang Chun, Danny Pang
Stars: Dylan McDermott, Penelope Ann Miller, Kristen Stewart
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Years before Father Lancaster Merrin helped save Regan MacNeil's soul, he first encounters the demon Pazuzu in East Africa. This is the tale of Father Merrin's initial battle with Pazuzu and the rediscovery of his faith.

Director: Renny Harlin
Stars: Stellan Skarsgård, Izabella Scorupco, James D'Arcy
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A lawyer takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl.

Director: Scott Derrickson
Stars: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Newlyweds are terrorized by demonic forces after moving into a large house that was the site of a grisly mass murder a year before.

Director: Andrew Douglas
Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa George, Jimmy Bennett
The Ward (2010)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A thriller centered on an institutionalized young woman who becomes terrorized by a ghost.

Director: John Carpenter
Stars: Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker
Dark Water (2005)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A mother and daughter, still wounded from a bitter custody dispute, hole up in a run-down apartment building. Adding further drama to their plight, they are targeted by the ghost of former resident.

Director: Walter Salles
Stars: Jennifer Connelly, Ariel Gade, John C. Reilly
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.

Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Stars: James Brolin, Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger


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 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 »


Richard Powell: [of Betsy] Can she love me?
Lucy Bell: She will.
See more »


References Monster (2003) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Predictable Semi-fiction
27 May 2006 | by (Chennai, India) – See all my reviews

Acting. Thats the most noticeable thing you will find in this movie. All the characters have performed well and acted according to the period of the story. I haven't watched Bell Witch Haunting (2004) but I have read a lot about the original legend. Instead of retelling the actual event, this movie revolves around it, giving us an entirely different interpretation of the haunting. Also, it tells nothing about General Andrew Jackson who visited Bell's family during that time and later became the American President. Its worthy to note that he was once quoted as saying - "I'd rather face the whole British Army, than face the Bell Witch again".

Around 1818, a farming family living in Tennessee is haunted by a spirit, the most affected ones being the daughter Betsy and the father John Bell. While the father's health deteriorates, the daughter gets all poltergeistic treatment. Slowly, they suspect the woman (also witch?) Kate Batts who previously has some legal issues with John and curses him that he and his daughter will suffer for his deeds. The haunting gets worse and the family members try to fight back the ghost in their own ways. By the end, when they seem to have abandoned their faith, the spirit itself reveals the reason for its existence.

The scary scenes are predictable but good. The notable ones are the first major attack on Betsy, the swing encounter, Richard's questions, John's visions, the cave and the best of all is the chariot ride. Excellent cinematography. A few good things in this movie keep us on the edge and makes us wait for the best part. But that best part never comes.

The fictional ending, though unexpected and slightly shocking, is not conceived properly. The movie begins with a Night-Shyamalan-like atmosphere. Most of it feels like as if you are watching The Village. Later it goes on to remind us of The Poltergeist, The Exorcist, Child's Play and several others, even The Omen. The ending is tried in a Lynchian manner - just tried. Sadly, it doesn't register in us at all.

Overall, this movie has good acting, good cinematography, few honestly scaring scenes and a different interpretation to the original Bell Witch Haunting. Nevertheless, it has a confused screenplay, half-baked script and an overhasty direction. The slow scenes are empty and the fast scenes are packed. So the balance is knocked out and what results is boredom. Watch it for the good aspects but make sure to take lots of popcorn inside the theatre. You'll need them to stay awake.

62 of 77 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss An American Haunting (2005) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: