Movie Club: An American Haunting Aug04


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Movie Club: An American Haunting

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to join a movie reviewing club. The idea is that we all (Sam, his sister, some other people I don’t know, and I) watch the same movie and all review it on our respective blogs. Having recently read a rousing recap of Event Horizon by the tiniest reviewer, I decided that, a) this was the kind of love-to-laugh club that I should be a part of, and b) we would only be reviewing sci-fi movies.

When informed that the first film I’d be weighing in on was entitled “American Haunting” I naturally assumed that some sort of extra terrestrial being was enraged by the American flag impaling the moon and had sent evil alien ghost warriors down to earth to freak these aging astronauts the fuck out. Or maybe that the US sent some of our own ghosts up to Mars to show those pussy Martians how a real American haunting is done. Because this reviewing club is sci-fi themed…right?


Well, it turns out that Wet Hot American Haunting is actually just a horror movie. And that this club just reviews member-selected movies of all genres. And it turns out that although I talked through this entire movie, I can still aver with confidence that it totally sucked. Sam said he was going to rewatch it to more accurately write his review, but I am betting that the one full scene I did give my full attention to is enough for me to give you, internet public, the gist of American Haunting. So here goes:

American Haunting is about two families. Two American families. Who are haunted.

They both live in the same house. The same haunted house. One family lives during olden times and one during current times. Yes despite a century having passed, this pesky ghoul is still dead set (get it? DEAD set!) on totally fucking with the daughter in the family by haunting the crap out of her in her sleep. Also, sometimes the ghost turns up as a menacing wolf. And other times as a cute girl who, upon closer inspection, has a hideous burned up face and hand.

Sounds pretty scary, right? Well actually more than anything it’s just loud. You see, every time the ghost intrudes on the sweet slumber of poor Betsy, she wakes up screaming. This scenario plays out perhaps 40 times throughout the film. In between the ear splitting night terrors there’s just scenes of the family freaking out and praying. There’s no gore, you never see the ghost, and no one dies. On the one hand, I was impressed that a modern horror movie didn’t rely on fucked up brutality to get a reaction from the audience, but on the other hand I really didn’t need to watch a girl screaming in her bed for over two hours.

This is not to say there weren’t good moments: The haunted daughter maintains a really creepy relationship with the burned-up-face girl throughout the film. The dad is played by a guy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie not the show). The mom is played by Carrie aka Sissy Spacek. steven

Also, one Betsy’s relatives bears a striking resemblance to a long haired Steven Beardsley.

In the end, after what seemed like an eternity of noctournal scream-fests, American Haunting finally ended, at last bringing peace to its ear-haunted viewers. While I can’t say I enjoyed the film, I have to admit I learned a few things:

1) If you’re living in an obviously haunted house and you find a creepy old diary backing up your suspicions of specters, for goodness sakes MOVE OUT!

2) Avoid wolves at all costs. They are a more dangerous kind of ghost than the kind that lives in your house.

3) Movie clubs should stick to just reviewing sci-fi movies.

4) Steven Beardsley should grow out his hair.