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An American Haunting (2005)

PG-13 | | Drama, History, Horror | 5 May 2006 (USA)
1:00 | Trailer

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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.


Courtney Solomon


Brent Monahan (novel), Courtney Solomon
5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Donald Sutherland ... John Bell
Sissy Spacek ... Lucy Bell
James D'Arcy ... Richard Powell
Rachel Hurd-Wood ... Betsy Bell / Entity Voice
Matthew Marsh ... James Johnston
Thom Fell ... John Bell Jr.
Zoe Thorne ... Theny Thorn (as Zoë Thorne)
Gaye Brown Gaye Brown ... Kathe Batts
Sam Alexander Sam Alexander ... Joshua Gardner
Miquel Brown Miquel Brown ... Chloe
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Elder #1
Shauna Shim Shauna Shim ... Anky
Madalina Stan Madalina Stan ... Ethereal Girl
Philip Hurd-Wood ... Partygoer (as Phillip Hurd-Wood)
Vlad Cruceru Vlad Cruceru ... Richard Bell (aged 6)


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 | Plot Synopsis


Possession Knows No Bounds

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



UK | Canada | Romania | USA



Release Date:

5 May 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apariciones See more »

Filming Locations:

Canada See more »


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£541,446 (United Kingdom), 16 April 2006, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,783,508, 7 May 2006, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$16,298,046, 23 July 2006

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (unrated)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Houses in 1810 in eastern Tennessee would not have been as large as the houses depicted in this film. 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 »


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

Alternate Versions

The DVD is released in an Unrated Version, which has a number of differences from the original PG-13 version. See more »


Referenced in Forensic Files: Sworded Scheme (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good publicity for Brent Monahan's novel, if nothing more.
15 November 2012 | by nitzanhavocSee all my reviews

Being the Horror freak that I am, I like reviewing the films I watch, for future references as wall as for others to hopefully read and benefit.

An American haunting is a ghost story attempting to raise fear in the hearts of spectators without using the common methods. Unlike other ghost films, no visible ghost with a creepy face is visible here, except for in one scene towards the end, and even then only for a second. Also, there was no use of the annoying "sudden occurrence + loud bass music" (and that's good, for I'm tired of directors using that cheat).

So, while "playing fair" in trying to make us scared - the outcome was fairly disappointing. The story is good (though the film is based on a novel, so I could only be decent and give credit to the author for that, rather than the director or screenwriter). The turn of events towards the end was successful in catching me off guard. In the beginning of the film I actually guessed the information uncovered towards the ending, but the film did a good job in throwing me off and making me forget about it.

Acting-wise, this film is a complete let down. Except for Mathew Marsh, whose vivid and true acting of religious/drunk James Jhonston was an island of comfort in a sea of let-down, the actors were mediocre at best. I'm not sure it was only the acting, perhaps also the direction... but the way the family reacted to the tragedy that befell them was as unrealistic as possible. It was like an unnatural disaster had happened, and their reaction is "meh, this isn't good..."

All in all, I did enjoy watching An American Haunting, but wasn't at all spooked by it. The entire "horror" part was simply absent. Objectively - I wouldn't blame anyone who would't like this film one bit. However, if nothing more - it serves as a good "trailer" for Brent Monahan's novel, of which I wouldn't have known without this film, and which I'm now very curious to read!

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