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An American Haunting (2005)

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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 »


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 »


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 »


References The Exorcist (1973) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Great and Haunitng Film That Will Leave You Scared For Days!
12 November 2005 | by madis2See all my reviews

I was at the Sunday afternoon screening of "An American Haunting" at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles. I was waiting to see this film as I love this genre and am a fan of Sissy Spacek (Carrie) and Donald Sutherland. I did some research on the legend of the Bell Witch before seeing the film, and more after, so I had an idea of what to expect. First, I have to say that Rachel Hurd Wood was fantastic as Betsy. I did not see Peter Pan, but for 14 years old, she put on a restrained and haunting performance which she should be commended for. Onto the film. This film was scary, scary, scary and creepy. I was thinking about it for three days after, and my friends and I even talked about it at lunch today a week later. It really stays with you, which I think is the sign of a good film. If you are looking for blood and guts, then it will not be for you. But, if you are looking for tension, suspense, and creepiness, then it's definitely for you. I saw it with three friends and we were all on the edge of our seats. I had nail marks from my friend Lisa who kept covering her eyes because she was so scared. I don't want to give anything away, but there is a surprise ending which I was happy to see they obviously built the film around, instead of just added it at the end like a lot of films do these days. It reminded me a lot of the "The Others" with Nicloe Kidman. Anyway, the film really delivers and it says something important at the same time. I think, having read some other comments that this film will appeal more to women. You will see why. I did think that the score was a little large at times, and that the sound was a little loud, but really good and effective, just loud. The cinematography was great, and the way the director moved the camera to create a spirit view, I thought was really good and fresh. There is a scene where the spirit tracks down one of the characters, and it was truly amazing! Having recently seen Emily Rose, I would have to say that this film was much better and would highly recommend it. I can't wait to have a chance to see it again. If I had to rate it, I would give it a 8.5 out of 10. Matilda.

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