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I love ghost stories and I will sit through a movie til it's end, even
if I'm not really enjoying it. I rarely feel like I wasted my time...
BUT, this adaptation of the Bell Witch story was horrible!
It wasn't scary in the least bit. What is with the comic relief moments? The dialog was tedious. Acting inconsistent The movie was WAY too long and some scenes were unnecessarily drawn out in my open. (Like the birthday party)
The only good think I can think about mentioning is the costumes and props were well done.
I am curious about other adaptation, but until then, I will stick to reading about the story.
Being from TN I was excited to see this movie. It started off like
every other low budget hand-held camera movie. It got more boring and
dumber as the minutes went on. There was nothing that even remotely go
into the legend of the Bell Witch. If it would have told more about the
legend of the Bell Witch then it might have been interesting, but this
movie was no where close to what it should have been
Its just a family who moved into a house that was build on the "sacred ground" and things begin to happen. I would actually say Paranormal Entity was better than this movie. And we all know how much of a rip that was.
For those who have very negative reviews on this movie, to each their
own. I am from Tennessee and have known this story all my life. Since
none of us have lived from 1817-1821, we can't actually make any
concrete statements as to how things were back in that time period.
They were burning ordinary (normal) people, before then, for being witches. Therefore, I'm pretty sure the unusual bumps in the night and weird occurrences were pretty strange for them to experience. They were actually terrified of the "UNKNOWN", as most people even today are.
I don't believe this movie was made to be as some call it, "A Hollywood Horror Flick" (fictional). This was a good way to try and make people understand what this family went through at a day and age when "Horror Flicks" were not the rage! I have experienced things in life that would probably make some people run for the hills. But I being open-minded to all things in life (even non-scientific) clearly understand what this film was trying to convey.
Please think about what you put in your review, before you sound "CLUELESS"!!!!!
BELL WITCH HAUNTING (aka THE HAUNT) is an American horror movie
supposedly based on real events that took place during the period 1817
This is not to be confused with BELL WITCH: THE MOVIE, a movie starring Betsy Palmer based on the same events. However, I can say that I wish I had seen this other movie instead of the one I saw! I enjoyed Betsy Palmer's chilling performance in Friday THE 13TH. As such, I believe that even on a bad day, she'd pull off a better performance than anyone involved in the travesty known as THE HAUNT.
With regard to my heading, this movie is not painful to watch because the content is disturbing. It is painful to watch because it is just downright boring.
Reading the positive reviews for this movie, I could only identify three possibilities. The first possibility - these authors were involved in the production in some way. The second possibility - the authors whilst not directly involved were paid to write positive reviews after production was completed. The final possibility - none of these authors has seen a sufficient number of horror movies and therefore is inexperienced with the concepts that successful attempts utilise.
The setting for the plot is Robertson County, Tennessee. James Johnston receives a visit from two journalists eager to hear the story of the Bell Witch. The story is told as a series of flashbacks. A series of supernatural events begin happening at the home of John Bell and his family. It soon transpires that a vengeful spirit is behind it all.
On the surface the plot appears to be a standard poltergeist affair, albeit one based on real events.
Where execution of the brilliant concept is concerned however, just about everything that could go wrong does go wrong. And then some!
First, the acting. The acting is almost uniformly terrible right across the board. This factor does the most damage to the production, undermining any possible credibility of belief or interest on the part of the viewer. The voice of the vengeful spirit sounds more like a teenage girl experiencing teenage angst rather than a powerful demonic force expressing malevolent intent. I almost laughed when I heard some of her lines. Unfortunately, this voice began to become very annoying very quickly! I may not have been alive in the 1800s, but I find it incredibly hard to believe that any young woman alive at that time would speak in the way that this "ghost" does!
Second, the direction. The direction is haphazard and very uneven. Some scenes show promise but potential is squandered by the clearly inexperienced director. Nothing is done with the camera, with sound or with lighting to add intensity to the scenes intended to be scary. The atmosphere is equally flat. A vengeful spirit is supposedly behind supernatural occurrences. Yet the effects are so incredibly inept that no one who has seen a proper horror movie would buy into them. I'll give one example. In one scene, the spirit attacks someone. See the scene for yourself. It's almost funny - almost.
Third, the script. Whilst it may be the case that the events shown are faithful to accounts of real occurrences, it cannot be denied that most scenes are incredibly flat and boring. Scenes as short as two minutes feel much longer thanks to the poor dialogue - dialogue that fails to add depth to the characters or story. This movie is far too reliant on conversations to advance the story. Whilst this style was also the case with British movies from the British horror heyday of the 1960s and 1970s, it cannot be denied that the dialogue exchanges were always interesting to watch in these more professional earlier works. Peter Cushing for example could read a telephone directory and still hold attention of the viewers. The same cannot be said of the actors in THE HAUNT.
Finally, the humour. The ill-guided attempts at humour in this movie are excruciating. An obese boy is the butt of many jokes. One particularly awful scene sees the said boy going to the outside toilet. This scene should never have been included - but it is and complete with sound effects in case you fail to understand what he is doing!
The only positive points about the movie are the location and the costumes. The decision to shoot the picture near the original location helped add some authenticity. The costumes were also well chosen.
Overall, THE HAUNT is an appalling movie. It is not even in the "so bad it's good" league. It is instead just boring. I advise everyone to save their money and avoid this movie like the plague. Don't even bother seeing it for free!
I have never seen the other movie about the Bell Witch. But it really couldn't be any worse than THE HAUNT. Could it? I'll give this other movie a chance if I can track it down.
In the meantime, I would advise everyone on here to check out some proper horror movies about ghosts and haunting. THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE, THE CHANGELING, RINGU, THE GRUDGE (Japanese original) and ONE MISSED CALL (Japanese original) are good places to start.
I bought "The Bell Witch Haunting" DVD and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Bell Witch legend. I thought it was a good portrayal of the Bell Witch legend, the acting was good, and the dark lighting in certain scenes added to the eerie atmosphere. I had never heard of the Bell Witch until my son moved to TN. While visiting him last year, I heard a local TV station cover a news story about a movie being made about the Bell Witch. This intrigued me so I drove to Adams to do a bit of on-site research. Adams, TN is a strange, very small farming community, and I found some of the people understandably reluctant to talk to me about the legend. While there, I bought M. V. Ingram's "Bell Witch." When I returned home, I continued to research the legend and tried to find out more about the movie's release date. "Bell Witch - The Movie" was suppose to be released on October 31, 2004 (Halloween) but the movie's distributor was changed and so was the release date. In the meantime, I purchased "The Bell Witch Haunting" and found that it paralleled M. V. Ingram's book. I do not have a hidden agenda. I offer my evaluation solely as an objective opinion.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is supposed to be based on actual events that took place in
the early 1800's. I know nothing about the case or how accurately the
movie follows the records, but based on how it looks and sounds, I
would say that this is not one of the more authentic depictions of
The story is about a family who gets tormented by a "spirit." The ghost bothers them by making noises, moving things around, and eventually hurting the family physically. The spirit tells people straight out that it intends to kill a member of the family, and it eventually does. Except that we never learn why. It also prevents a young girl from marrying a boy that it disapproves of.
The spirit is represented by a girlish voice that speaks with a much-too-contemporary vernacular. The tone of the movie is broken several times with some slapstick humor that fits in about as well as a talking pig would in a Rambo movie. The movie is overlong, and the acting is amateurish by everyone involved. The sound editing is especially distracting. I thought that for the most part, the low-tech approach worked better for this story than a big budget ever could. However, this is not one of those movies, like Blair Witch or Paranormal Activity, that are so well done they overcome their limitations. Four out of ten.
This is a story that should have been captured in film a long time ago. Thank you for having the insight to do so. You have done an excellent job of staying true to the story and allowing us to bring it to or T.V. I was wondering if it would ever be made into a film and you have done it with excellence. This is truly one of the best stories ever told and I cherish the fact that I can now view it and share it with others. I grew up in neighboring Cheatham county and recall having the book and hearing the tales as a young boy and later on in years. I actually visited the farm and cave and had the opportunity to sit with Mr. Eden as he told me tales that sent goosebumps all over me. Thank you so much for your hard work and commitment to the excellence of this movie. I'm 51 yrs. of age now and you have brought those goosebumps back once again. Thank you!!!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have always loved ghost stories and have been fascinated with the Bell Witch for a long time, having read one of the books as a teenager. It is impossible to find a more amazing true ghost story. When I saw the great review in Haunted Times magazine, I was very excited to order the movie. I was not disappointed. You could tell immediately this was not a Hollywood film. The picture looks a little grainy in places and it seems a little dark in others. But this works for the film, because it gives it more of a realistic look in the dark candle scenes and makes it creepier. This, with some of the camera shots, makes it feel more at times like a documentary. It feels real, like you are watching a part of these peoples lives, and that drew me in. I thought for the most part the acting was very well done and the costumes and locations looked authentic. After watching the film, it rekindled my interest, so I checked out a book on the Bell Witch from the library. I was surprised how close the movie was to the original story. I especially liked the way they showed the different personalities of the spirit, showing it's kindness for Lucy, it's enjoyment for church, and it's sense of humor that is discussed so much it the book. If Hollywood had made this film, they would have made the ghost one note (just scary) and you would not have had such in-depth and realistic view of the haunting. But there is plenty of scary parts too! It is an amazing story and would be of great interest to anyone who enjoys the paranormal. The "Behind the Scenes" was very fascinating as well. This is as true and real as it gets!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not growing up in Tennessee, I feel I was more fit to review this movie
on its own merits as opposed to the local legend that has been embraced
by most of the Middle Tennessee community. I had little to no knowledge
of this story until the movie came out.
The story itself is fascinating. The Bell Witch appeared out of nowhere. It then attaches itself to a family for several years, making them grimace in horror for years to come. The only peace they would find would be in death. The poltergeist tale of the 1800's does not have a happy ending. The truth of the story has been validated by both scholars and camp fire tales. The movie would embrace both of these things.
The movie was surprisingly better than I anticipated. It had many of the major pitfalls to over come right from the start. A period piece, with several child actors, working on a low budget...these things were set aside to make a wonderful debut film from director Ric White. The story follows reporters looking for confirmation of the book written by John Bell's son.
They come across an old hermit named James Johnston (played by director Ric White) His performance is subtle, you can see a built in madness much different from the younger Johnston you will meet in the flashbacks. White seemed to know how to play a man before and after he had seen things to change his outlook on life.
The story is told mostly in retrospect from this point on. We meet John Bell (played by Doug Moore) whose performance is straight on. A God fearing man who lets the haunting persist until he fears harm may come to his family. There is a beautiful shot of open Tennessee fields to start this picture off, at this point I knew we weren't going to be dealing with a low-fi ghost story. You are given your first hint at the haunting when a shot hits but doesn't bring down the ghost of a large animal.
As the story unfolds James Johnston and several associates come to the aid of the Bell family with little help for their well being. The ghost attacks on physical and mental tirades. It appears only briefly and the movie never lets you see enough of the ghost to get a good feeling what it is. They leave that to your imagination.
The Bell Witch haunting takes another route not usually associated with low budget horror movie making. It is surprisingly clean. The blood and gore is kept to a minimum, and the profanity is non existent. It refuses to hide behind the same old marketing tool of the sexy hack and slash ghost story. It holds your interest through storytelling, always wondering what's next gets you through the two hours.
The witch is confusing and irritable, such as the legend proclaims. You can't be sure of who it was and what brought it to the Bell family. The movie embraces this and leaves you with no explanation of its menacing hauntings. They also end the witches story with the Bell family, and leave the rest of the stories to be told with marshmallows and hot dogs.
All in all the film is a must see for fans of the local legend. It has many great merits and few pitfalls along the way. The story of the Haunting has survived almost 200 years, and this film is just another chapter in a long complex legend that gets better with age.
I've read the comments of people who rated this movie 0 out of ten and
who obviously have a hidden agenda. I've also read the comments of
those who gave it a ten. They have an agenda as well. Now I'm going to
tell you the truth.
I purchased this movie after seeing An American Haunting because I was interested in learning more. In many ways, this movie is better than American Haunting because it gives much more detail.
If you buy this movie and expect it to be something like a big budget Hollywood film with seasoned actors who earn 5 million per performance, forget it. That's not what it is. This movie is a low budget film by an independent film maker using people that I suspect have acted in local theater and in plays, but have not made movies. In fact, the scenes in which there is dialog smacks of a stage presentation. As any film actor will tell you....if you want to be great in films forget everything you did on the stage. It isn't the same thing.
This film is, so far as I have been able to determine, historically accurate. It is, therefore, educational and very entertaining. True, you can't compare it to American Haunting but then it is not claimed to be comparable to a big budget film with name actors. For what it is, it's darned good. The actors gave honest effort and I can't fault their performances. The writing and directing was likewise honest.
You'll probably never see this film at your local theater, so buy a copy of it. You won't be sorry.
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