An American Haunting (15)

PUBLISHED: 11:14 13 April 2006 | UPDATED: 09:58 06 May 2010

TAKE a couple of classy Hollywood veterans and a good old-fashioned ghost story and you should be pretty much on a winner. Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek star in An American Haunting, a period horror based on supposedly real events, but despite their

TAKE a couple of classy Hollywood veterans and a good old-fashioned ghost story and you should be pretty much on a winner.

Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek star in An American Haunting, a period horror based on supposedly real events, but despite their best efforts, they can't quite overcome a plodding script.

Sutherland and Spacek are a respectable and well-off 19th century Tennessee couple, but after he is accused of usury, their lives are turned upside down by a malicious poltergeist.

The spirit targets their teenage daughter (Rachel Hurd-Wood of Peter Pan fame), giving her severe beatings while her parents remain helpless. The sceptical townsfolk, including the girl's teacher, become involved as the hauntings continue.

The film is well enough made and looks good, with all the ghostly clichés present and correct. There are also one or two set pieces which stand out but the Exorcist-stylings become a bit repetitive over time.

The 'made-you-jump' moments come along at regular intervals but the script and characters are a little underdeveloped to truly grab your interest.

It is, though, at least a horror movie that tries for a bit of psychological depth - it's not just a dumb popcorn shockfest - even if it doesn't quite work.


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