Netflix Halloween 2015 : “The Bell Witch Haunting”

Posted: October 15, 2015 in movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


There are good “found-footage” horror movies.

There are bad “found-footage” horror movies.

And then there are Asylum “found-footage” horror movies.

Usually setting their tales at or near the scenes of purportedly “real” paranormal “hot spots” or the stomping grounds of infamous serial killers (although all their flicks are shot in California), the no-budget, straight-to-video “moguls” who run The Asylum follow pretty much the same formula every time : hire an eager kid either right out of film school or looking to get in to direct it, give him or her an HD video camera, hire a bunch of uniformly good-looking guys and gals who are out  to pad their meager acting CVs, get the ladies to take their shirts (at least) off, mix in a bit of dodgy CGI effects work meant to be indicative of “ghostly”  activity ( I really wanted to say “paranormal activity” there, but the name’s taken), and then kill everybody off by the time the credits roll — assuming they even bother to include them. The end.


Certainly 2013’s The Bell Witch Haunting is no different (and, like all the rest, it bills itself as a “true” story assembled from “genuine” footage), and while I could throw out a bunch of specific “spoilers” here and go into great detail about the paper-thin story on offer involving the hapless Sawyer family, who move into a new home (supposedly) in North Carolina and almost immediately find themselves terrorized by the spirit of the legendary Bell Witch who is rumored to haunt the area, I think I’ll let the film’s director, one Glenn Miller (not that his name is anywhere to be found in the movie itself) do that for me, since he gives away the ending right at the start of the flick, notifying us that the Sawyer case was thought to be a murder-suicide, but was really the work of “a centuries-old demon responsible for America’s most famous paranormal event.”

So — you know what’s gonna happen from the outset, the only question is how it’s all gonna go down. And it occurs to me that we’ve covered that already : the chicks will get naked, there will be some squiggly lines on the cell phone and video camera footage, some cheap “apparitions” will appear, and everybody will die.


I could — and probably by all rights should — also talk about the about the acting for a minute, since that’s the customary thing to do in a movie review, but honestly, unless you’re a friend or relative of this flick’s nominal “stars” like Marissa Lynne Johnson, Laura Alexandra Ramos, or Ted Jonas, you have no reason to care about who’s in this any more than the actors themselves have reason to care about the job they do. It’s about three days’ work for three days’ non-union pay — get in, get out, get your rent paid for the month, and everybody’s happy. If some of them want to put forth something resembling actual effort — a mindset which doesn’t seem to afflict any of the cast members here — then so much the better, but honestly, it’s not really necessary.


Hey, look, these things have their fans — I get that. There’s a certain low-rent charm to inherently crappy productions that have no aspirations to be anything other than inherently crappy productions — but you really do have to be in exactly the right from of mind to get anything resembling “enjoyment” from an Asylum production, and when I watched this one the other night on Netflix, well — I just wasn’t. I stuck with it to the end simply because I had nothing else going on (although I suppose I could have come up with something — anything — easily enough), but it’s already been more or less completely forgotten in less than 48 hours.

Which is probably a blessing, really, now that I think about it, since remembering any of the details with too much clarity would probably just “ruin” the next Asylum horror flick for me (given that it’ll have more or less exactly the same plot), and this way it’ll all seem fresh, new, and exciting instead, right?

Okay, maybe not. Damn, though, it’s weird : looking back over this review, I realize that while I’ve talked a lot about The Asylum in general, I really haven’t had that much to say about The Bell Witch Haunting specifically — and yet I’ve still told you all you that need to know.




  1. trashfilmguru (Ryan C.) says:

    Reblogged this on Through the Shattered Lens.

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