27 May 2006 | xvaasan
A Predictable Semi-fiction
Acting. Thats the most noticeable thing you will find in this movie. All the characters have performed well and acted according to the period of the story. I haven't watched Bell Witch Haunting (2004) but I have read a lot about the original legend. Instead of retelling the actual event, this movie revolves around it, giving us an entirely different interpretation of the haunting. Also, it tells nothing about General Andrew Jackson who visited Bell's family during that time and later became the American President. Its worthy to note that he was once quoted as saying - "I'd rather face the whole British Army, than face the Bell Witch again".
Around 1818, a farming family living in Tennessee is haunted by a spirit, the most affected ones being the daughter Betsy and the father John Bell. While the father's health deteriorates, the daughter gets all poltergeistic treatment. Slowly, they suspect the woman (also witch?) Kate Batts who previously has some legal issues with John and curses him that he and his daughter will suffer for his deeds. The haunting gets worse and the family members try to fight back the ghost in their own ways. By the end, when they seem to have abandoned their faith, the spirit itself reveals the reason for its existence.
The scary scenes are predictable but good. The notable ones are the first major attack on Betsy, the swing encounter, Richard's questions, John's visions, the cave and the best of all is the chariot ride. Excellent cinematography. A few good things in this movie keep us on the edge and makes us wait for the best part. But that best part never comes.
The fictional ending, though unexpected and slightly shocking, is not conceived properly. The movie begins with a Night-Shyamalan-like atmosphere. Most of it feels like as if you are watching The Village. Later it goes on to remind us of The Poltergeist, The Exorcist, Child's Play and several others, even The Omen. The ending is tried in a Lynchian manner - just tried. Sadly, it doesn't register in us at all.
Overall, this movie has good acting, good cinematography, few honestly scaring scenes and a different interpretation to the original Bell Witch Haunting. Nevertheless, it has a confused screenplay, half-baked script and an overhasty direction. The slow scenes are empty and the fast scenes are packed. So the balance is knocked out and what results is boredom. Watch it for the good aspects but make sure to take lots of popcorn inside the theatre. You'll need them to stay awake.