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An American Haunting (2005)
Butchery of a good story
Yet another movie that could have been great but wasn't.
First of all, I grew up 30 miles south of where this event of the Bell Witch reportedly took place. It was very common as a misbehaving kid to hear a grown up say "You better quit or the Bell Witch will get you" when we were behaving badly. Through out my youth in boredom we'd go searching for witchery and the such, usually finding nothing. We made jokes about the Witch and we acted as though it was just folklore, but for some reason the Bell Witch wasn't quite so dismissible. .
Maybe it was the elderly stigma of the tale itself, with Andrew Jackson having reportedly seen the Witch. Maybe it was the surrounding area, which is stoked in history and heritage of several different cultures-all of whom respected the supernatural, thrown against the green Tennessee backdrop. Or maybe it was just in a town so quiet, you needed something to scare you.
Enough about me, I just wanted you to understand how excited I was to hear that the Bell Witch saga would soon be coming to the theater then I saw this colossal piece of donkey crap.
1. I have a history degree with emphases on southern folklore, I've studied the Bell Witch story relentlessly in the past and I've written two papers on the subject. I've never heard one thing that could possibly link John Bell to molestation. It may be an interesting take, but at the end of the day these were real people and its irresponsible to make such accusations without any evidence, not to mention just unappealing. The story is the demon, real or completely fabricated, the story is the demon. We paid 8.50 to see "The true story of America's most famous haunting' and you gave us a lifetime movie. Hacks. 2. If you're going to go down the whole 'we need some sex in here somewhere' route, why not make the demon make Mrs. Bell only believe that John Bell had raped his daughter. That was where I thought the writers were going, I guess I was giving them far too much credit. 3. When Andrew Jackson is part of a story, give him a cameo. When people tell the story of the Bell Witch the ALWAYS follow it up with "You know, Andrew Jackson had a run in with the Bell Witch .". But no, they once again had bad information in this movie when they leave us with some totally fabricated "and they all lived happily ever after" ending. Not even close to the truth, the Bell Witch (despite what Wikipedia says) did not only show up again to same family 7 years later, but is blamed for many events in the surrounding counties well into the 20th century. I thought a good ending would be to lightly touch on these events as several part outro. 4. The modern day/flashback routine seriously made me laugh. The approach is fine, the execution was terrible. Let's assume for a second that the Bell Witch was some psycho telekinesis brought on by stress caused by the daughter's raping. Fine, we'll give you that. In order to do such you're basically saying 'Hey, there's no ghosts here, its just mental power'. I don't buy it, but fine. If these are the results of her mind, how are we to believe that she is using those powers years into her death. How? Shes a ghost. So you're asking us to believe in ghosts after all wouldn't't it be easier to just make the movie the way we have heard it for years?
All in all, this is a bad movie. Its on the same level as that horrible remake of Walking Tall that The Rock did. The Bell Witch is a great story, please do some research on it if you're at all interested in the subject. Don't rely on this terrible movie.