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An American Haunting

  • compiled by Josh Hurst Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Jan
An American Haunting
from Film Forum, 05/11/06
Few critics haunted by An American Haunting

Just because a film is a ghost story doesn't mean that its studio wants theatres to look like ghost towns, but that's more or less what's happening with An American Haunting—at least as far as Christian critics are concerned. Most of the religious press skipped out on the film, something that we hardly fault them for.

Supposedly based on a true story, Haunting is based on a land feud in 19th century Tennessee, where John Bell (Donald Sutherland) finds himself served a lawsuit by a grouchy neighbor. The neighbor wins the case, but that's still not enough revenge for her—which is bad news for John and his family, as it just so happens that their neighbor is rumored to be a powerful and deeply evil witch. It isn't long before strange things are afoot in the Bell household, with the existence of ghosts and evil curses seeming more probable by the minute.

Tom Neven (Plugged In) seems to be the only Christian critic to review the film, noting, "Director Courtney Solomon, who wrote the screenplay, might be playing fast and loose with the facts for the sake of making a thrilling film, but he is to be congratulated for exercising relative restraint when it comes to the violence and gore so often seen in this genre. Yes, it's scary and intense—let me repeat myself—An American Haunting is scary and intense. But it's not obsessively bloody. And Solomon has produced a story free of profanity, one that is respectful toward the Christian beliefs of its characters."

Mainstream critics are quick to curse this Haunting.

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