more trailers An American Haunting

An American HauntingAn American HauntingAn American HauntingAn American HauntingStill of Rachel Hurd-Wood in An American HauntingStill of Rachel Hurd-Wood in An American Haunting

Based on the true events of the only case in US History where a spirit caused the death of a man.

Release Year: 2005

Rating: 4.9/10 (15,859 voted)

Critic's Score: 38/100

Director: Courtney Solomon

Stars: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, Rachel Hurd-Wood

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.

Writers: Brent Monahan, Courtney Solomon

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 - Kathe Batts
Sam Alexander - Joshua Gardner
Miquel Brown - Chloe
Vernon Dobtcheff - Elder #1
Shauna Shim - Anky
Madalina Stan - Ethereal Girl
Philip Hurd-Wood - Partygoer (as Phillip Hurd-Wood)
Vlad Cruceru - Richard Bell (aged 6)

Taglines: Possession Knows No Bounds


Official Website: CTV International [France] | Official Soundtrack Site |

Release Date: 5 May 2006

Filming Locations: MediaPro Studios, Bucharest, Romania

Box Office Details

Budget: $14,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: £541,446 (UK) (16 April 2006) (269 Screens)

Gross: $29,612,137 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (unrated version)

Did You Know?

The movie is actually based on a true story. Andrew Jackson is quoted as saying, "I would rather take on the entire English Fleet than stay one night at the Bell House." He later formed a group of men to test the rumors of the Bell haunting. Their findings are documented in M. V. Ingram's 1894 book, An Authenticated History of The Famous Bell Witch. This movie was based on the book by Brent Monahan,The Bell Witch: An American Haunting the Famous Bell Witch.

Anachronisms: In one scene the sky is shown with clouds, and an obvious jet stream or contrail streak to the left.

Richard Powell: [of Betsy] Can she love me?
Lucy Bell: She will.

User Review

If you know the Bell Witch legend don't see this movie.

Rating: 3/10

We saw this movie last night at the Nashville Film Festival and sat 3 rows behind Courtney Solomon (the director). The ending we saw last night was recently changed because the previous ending got such a horrible review. In my opinion they should have just stopped the movie 2 minutes short.

I was raised in middle Tennessee about 3 hours south of the Adams farm and grew up hearing all the stories and reading all the books so I'm a pretty big fan of the Bell Witch. I wanted so badly for his movie to be an accurate representation of the "real" story but it was not. As in all movies these days they had to put a big twist at the end to shock everyone. This twist completely kills the movie and nullifies the whole Bell Witch legend. The movie even contradicts itself and in the end just becomes a confusing mess.

If you are looking for jolts and some scary scenes you will not be disappointed. My hair stood on end more times than I think it ever has before. And up until the ending I was willing to give it an 8 out of 10. The last 2 minutes or so absolutely kill this movie. Once we saw the ending all the little hints throughout the movie tied together in the worse kind of way and the movie falls apart. If you are a Bell Witch fan you will hate this movie. If you do not know the story you will probably love the movie and just think the ending was dumb.

In the Bell Witch legend Betsy Bell is tormented by a spirit named Kate that follows her wherever she goes. It starts out with what is considered poltergeist activity (strange noises, things moving around the house, etc...) but then becomes abusive and begins pulling Betsy's hair, scratching and slapping her, etc... She even vomits needles at one point. In the end though the spirit focuses its attention on John Bell and ultimately poisons him. This is the legend.

** Spoilers follow ***

The movie follows along the story fairly closely but in the end its John Bell who is abusing and raping Betsy Bell. Betsy has conjured up this "protector" spirit because of his abuse. That's the big twist. And its the mother Lucy Bell that poisons John Bell due to this abuse. The spirit which is apparently Betsy Bell's spirit (?????) then returns in 2006 to warn a relative of the Bell's that her ex-husband is abusing their daughter. Just stupid. To me this destroys the whole legend.

There were so many parts of the legend that they should have put in but instead focused on shocker rape scenes and dreams she was having so you never knew what was real and what wasn't. No mention of the Andrew Jackson incident or the witch singing "Row me up some Brandy'o" in front of 500 people at John Bell's funeral. Instead we got more shocker scenes and more of Betsy being drug around by the hair. Just how many times do we need to see Betsy being drug around by the hair anyway? I've waited for years for a good movie that tells us the real Bell Witch legend and I guess I'll keep waiting.