Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Film Review: The Bell Witch Haunting (2013)

The Bell Witch Hunting (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...not nearly enough horror to warrant a feature length film..."

The Sawyer family moves into their new home in Robertson County, which is haunted by a legendary demon...

The Bell Witch Haunting is a basic, by-the-books found-footage horror film. The story follows a family that moves into their new home, which is supposedly built on haunted grounds. Brandon, the son, is an aspiring filmmaker, I think, and he decides to record everything. Things go bump in the night, lights turn on by themselves, and so on. The ending is predictable and clich̩ Рaside from being a disappointing narrative, the ending also features an almost unbelievable goof/mistake.

The Bell Witch Haunting is nothing new. If you've seen any found-footage films in the last few years, you've likely already seen The Bell Witch Haunting. However, that's not a reason to complete ignore a film, so I decided to watch it РI'm not bias in any way. The story is bland. It's by-the-books and plays it safe. It is actually riddled with clich̩ characters and dialogue, which further hurt the already generic narrative. And, there seem to be a handful of inconsistencies with the storytelling and the timeline. There is a little more going on than your typical Paranormal Activity film, though. There is some suspense, I actually liked two or three of the jump-scares, and there are some decent visuals. There's not nearly enough horror to warrant a feature length film, though.

The acting ranges from terrible to mediocre. There aren't any outstanding performances, they're all pretty bad. In fact, some of their performances, along with some of the writing, is unintentionally hilarious. This is a found-footage film, so expect the same cinematography as the last found-footage film you watched. One of the worst parts of the film was the incredibly sloppy camerawork – the actors can't seem to hold the camera still to save their lives; it is, at times, nauseating. The better half of me wants to believe they left out the credits to keep an authentic-vibe for the film; the cynical half wants me to believe this crew didn't want their names tainted by this work. Too bad. Director Glenn Miller has an offensive lack of ambition and vision, and really should have had more control of his cameras.

Overall, The Bell Witch Haunting is a bad found-footage horror film. There are some redeeming scares, and some spooky and creative visuals, but they are outnumbered by the severe technical flaws. I applaud it for having more going on than Paranormal Activity 4 and Absence, which were terrible found-footage horror films. I was close to giving this a 4/10, but the camerawork and ending are too detrimental to the experience.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Some violence and blood, some brief nudity. (Some women flash their breasts during a pool party.)

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