Ryan Chartrand

Believe it or not, but other films actually do come out on the same day that “Mission: Impossible” films make their debut. I’ve regretted twice now missing out on other films that have been overlapped by Tom Cruise’s shining glory.

Of course, the first time I decide to skip a “Mission: Impossible” flick happens to be the same weekend one of the worst films of the year comes out – “An American Haunting.”

Have you ever seen a thriller with wolves, witches, creepy kids, ghosts, bad acting or exorcists? Boy, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film with any of those. In fact, a film consisting of all of them would be highly original and constantly unpredictable.

What some call “America’s greatest ghost story” has already been done countless times and without anything all that unique and entertaining. “An American Haunting” is as unnecessary as Paula Abdul on “American Idol.”

The so-called script written by the same guy who did “Dungeons and Dragons” (another record-breaking terrible film) is so repetitive and rushed that it makes you wonder if someone spilled coffee on all the important pages.

Unfortunately, the writer just added another film to his stack of pointless films. If anything, a story about a 17th century Tennessee family and their acquaintance with an evil Casper should have some frightening moments.

I’ll admit, there are a few jumps, but overall there’s more laughter than terror. Imagine for a moment a young girl sleeping peacefully in her bed. Suddenly, someone begins to pull her covers off. Within a few seconds the girl is hovering above her bed, hanging by her hair and being slapped silly by a ghost. Her parents walk in and do nothing but stare at her. At this point, the audience can’t tell if it’s the latest “Scary Movie” or just flat-out wrong. Either way, I suppose there is some entertainment value in “An American Haunting,” but someone should be ashamed that it involves beating little girls.

Donald Sutherland, who has been in almost everything ever recorded on film since “M*A*S*H,” is surprisingly the star of the film, playing the father of the misfortunate family. It’s always nice to see someone with talent holding a poorly-made film together. On the other hand, starring Sissy Spacek (“The Ring Two”) and her blatant plastic surgery in a 17th century role looks ridiculously out of place. Everyone else on the cast either has a modern haircut or a lack of talent. Unbalanced, unrealistic and unbearable. Is there any better formula for flawless acting?

To top it all off, “An American Haunting” comes fully equipped with a twist ending that is explained through a minute-long hallucination. That’s right, the entire film builds up to be explained by a meaningless sequence of poorly-edited film that “An American Haunting” refers to as “a twist.” I preferred the twist when I got up and asked for my money back; apparently not all twists give refunds.

Finally, it should be noted that everything that you have read here could actually be a terrifying experience for anyone who thinks “Red Eye” is a scary movie. Heed this warning if you just thought of your girlfriend.

“An American Haunting” is a waste of time and proof that if a “Mission: Impossible” sequel just came out, there’s truly nothing else worth seeing. Someone warm up the 2006 “bench de crap,” because “The Benchwarmers” finally has some company.

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