An American Haunting is a horror film directed by Courtney Solomon. It follows a family that is cursed by the supposed Bell Witch after a property dispute, things then take a turn for the paranormal and then a twist leads to a far darker revelation; but no spoilers just yet.
So, this was not the film I thought it was, I was looking for the Owen Wilson staring horror film The Haunting and mistakenly put this on. However, it wasn’t entirely terrible. Yes, a lot of it was very samey, it was all very safe, and no boundaries were pushed, and you will have seen a lot of ‘the scares’ before in other films.
Despite that this film does two thing I think are worth talking about, two things that I think save it from being a stinker.
The first is the period setting. The horror genre has become infested with horror films set in modern times, where someone is always recording everything on their phone, or live streaming a demonic possession so, it is nice to see a film like this that strips away all the modern flair and gets back to basics. I think the choice of setting really does a lot to help the film stand apart from other more modern horror films.
The other is the twist. Spoilers here. The twist is that there is no curse, no demon. The girl’s father has been going into her room at night and abusing her both physically and sexually; he was the entity. The latter half of the film has a focus on parent child abuse and explores some really dark areas, revealing that both the mum and daughter knew about it, but blocked it out. I will applaud them for having the balls to land this twist.
Overall, a fairly generic affair, but it does have its moments where you can see little bits of potential.
The period setting.
It wasn’t scary.
A lot of the horror is stuff we have seen better before.
None of the characters were memorable.
Reviewed by Luke