Movie Review: An American Haunting
****Warning, if your concerned about spoilers and this movie, dont read ANY FURTHER*****
How far gone into the Hollywood "scene" must you be to be involved in a project such as American Haunting for more then 25 minutes and not mutter to yourself "What the fuck am I doing here?" The only thing I can think of was that during shooting, this movie was actually bearable. Someone watched the dailys from this film and said, "We can work with that. We will fix it in editing".
Supposedly based on a "true story ", this movie tells the tale of a 1800's American family cast out from their church for some bad buisness dealings and struck with a terrible curse. A historical witch story? American pop culture in its infancy? Sounds like a great premise doesn't it? Wrong! The only way for you to really know how wrong is to suffer through the 90 minutes this film requires of you.
Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek were decent. Why they didn't walk away from this project is a mystery far greater then any Bell Witch Haunting. The rest of the actors were charactures so over the top it was hard to not want them ALL TO DIE!!!! Eventually, I was hoping for an M. Night twist. They all go crazy and start beating each other over the head with axes and table legs and whatever else a 19th century, well off white family might have laying around the house. But alas, we don't get that. Instead, we get a nice American story of incest and crazy social isolation. Bring the kids! its a FAMILY MOVIE!
The dialoge. I've seen high school drama club productions better written then this movie. We get such zingers as "Boy this fog is heavy today" "Don't worry, we will be out of the woods soon." and "Mama, am I gonna die?" "No, your not going to die Betsy".... Betsy might not die, but I wanted to. Or this line, delivered by the caring and concerned slave owned by the family (did I forget to mention this family movie also has SLAVERY?) "Ohhhh no, blood on the clothes means... means..... THEY ARE GONNA DIE!" What a genius. Its 1817 for Christs sake. Before things like antibiotics and disinfectant. People died from a stubbed toe. There were several good moments in the film, though. When Betsy gets "attacked" by the ghost, she is lifted off the floor and bitch slapped like a red headed step child. Its only too bad this happened early in the film and we hadn't yet gotten to bond enough with the character to really appreciate a good open palm slap to the face. The older brother was a good character too. While the rest of the family crumbled around him he stood strong, except with the sister and pedophile school teacher LITERALLY left him for the wolves. But he survived and returned home to be the only one not drunk or striken with the holy spirit enough to actually aid his crazy ass sister during one of her fits.
in the immortal words of Comic Book Guy, "Worst... Cinematography..... Ever" The movie was supposed to have you believe this was a for real ghost haunting these people, so they used the chase cam shot. And used it again. And again. I thought at one point we were watching a "my life as a 19th century house cat" documentary. This wouldn't have been too bad had they not also combined this with chaotic and competely random film shifts. Now I understand the idea of black and white mixed with color film helping to tell the story, but when they switch from B&W to color to B&W to photo negative to color in the same 4 minute shot, its way too much.
a half a memestar because of Donald and Sissy. AND THEY SHOULD BE ON THEIR KNEES THANKING ME FOR THAT!!!!!