The generic title “An American Haunting” is symbolic of the overall unoriginality of this film, which lasts from beginning to end. The film’s opening premise, that this particular American haunting is somehow different from all the others, turns out to be quite false as far as occult themes are concerned. Apparently cursed by a witch over a land deal gone bad, John Bell (played by Donald Sutherland) and his teenaged daughter Betsy, residents of Tennessee in the year 1817, are tormented by an invisible entity. As Betsy is slapped, dragged across the floor, pulled by her hair, and at one point raped by an unseen presence, the plot of the movie is not advanced in any way. When the truth behind the haunting is finally revealed, it is quite confusing as there was no previous evidence that what is claimed actually took place.