Sunday, May 07, 2006

Not Haunting Enough

Doors squeak, floors creak, thunder roars and music soars in An American Haunting, a tale of a young girl and her family who were bedeviled by some sort of spirit in Red River, Tennessee, during the early 1800s. Sadly, the most mysterious thing about this overwrought horror-thriller-mystery is how two fine actors like Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek became involved in such a dreadful movie.

Based on true events, the Bell case is touted as the only documented one in U.S. history in which a spirit caused the death of a person, so there is great material here for a scary film. The movie does boast a gothic visual atmosphere quite appropriate for this type of story, but its extra-loud sound effects, repetitive thrashing-about scenes, and overpowering music (which, believe it or not, in one scene sounds whimsical!) just about drove me nuts.

Seldom do I want to walk out on a film -- no matter how awful it is. But An American Haunting joins Van Helsing and The Man on this short list.

To read my full review, go to


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