Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5  
An American Haunting (2006)
15Contains strong supernatural horror

"There's somethin' evil in this house!" wails Donald Sutherland in An American Haunting. Well, duh. Even the most casual horror viewer will realise that chez Sutherland has been possessed by the spirit of The Exorcist. Here, it's 19th-century teen Rachel Hurd-Wood's turn to go through the Satanic wringer - over and over again. And again. Unoriginal and unrelenting, this gothic ghost story invests too much time in banging doors and billowing drapes and not enough in its characters. Well, what did you expect from the director of Dungeons And Dragons?

A pursuit through present-day woodland - so overdone you'll swear it's a joke - sets the unsubtle tone. From there, we backflash to 1817 Tennessee, where John Bell (Sutherland) is found guilty of swindling a neighbour, who promptly puts his clan under a curse. And so the haunting begins, with daughter Betsy (Peter Pan's Hurd-Wood) being torn from her bed and smacked about by unseen forces on a nightly basis.


Is it scary? To start with, yes. Then it just gets repetitive. Seen one poltergeist-eye-view camera swoop, you've seen 'em all. The FX overrun the film, ultimately stealing impact from what ought to be a devastating denouement. The cast - including Sissy Spacek, who wonders if the racket in the attic might be squirrels - acquit themselves well, but the effort's wasted. Forget the true-story trappings: this is just another noisy knock-off of William Friedkin's finest hour. Trouble is, it's not even as good as the last one, The Exorcism Of Emily Rose.

End Credits

Director: Courtney Solomon

Writer: Courtney Solomon

Stars: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, James D'Arcy, Rachel Hurd-Wood

Genre: Horror, Drama, Thriller

Length: 91 minutes

Cinema: 14 April 2006

Country: USA

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