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
Good publicity for Brent Monahan's novel, if nothing more.
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!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this