© Splendid/Stardust

Der Fluch der Betsy Bell (An American Haunting)
U.S.A. 2005

Opening 11 Jan 2007

Directed by: Courtney Solomon
Writing credits: Brent Monahan, Courtney Solomon
Principal actors: Donald Sutherland, Sissy Spacek, James D\'Arcy, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Matthew Marsh

This scary movie by Courtney Solomon relies on conventional props which are neither original nor frightening. It’s the year 1818 in Red River, Tennessee, and John Bell (Donald Sutherland) is guilty of usury according to church law, i.e., he collected 20% interest from Kate Batts. From then on he and his family, especially daughter Betsy (Rachel Hurd-Wood), see ghosts in the night. Batts has the repetition of being a witch, but denies having anything to do with the horrors in the house. The local teacher (James d’Arcy) tries to help and keeps a written record of the spooking for future generations. This supposedly true story is based on the book by Brent Monahan. Most of the film unravels by candle light with the main characters (including Sissy Spacek as the mother) in their nightgowns. Doors shake and windows blow out. A wolf and a small child appear to John and Betsy. All this comes to an end when a family member dies. The old mansion is adequate, as are the actors, who do their best with a weak script which calls for them to look worried and hug each other and say, “It must have been a bad dream.” (Becky Tan)

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