Kyle Smith in the New York Post begins his review of An American Haunting by quoting a line by a character in the film to her daughter: "The attic is off-limits!" Comments Smith: "Too bad An American Haunting didn't heed its own warning. Its images came from a dusty box in the horror-movie attic, and the attic is where the entire picture will be in a month." Nathan Lee in the New York Times suggests that the scariest thing about the film is that Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek agreed to appear in it. "Their participation can be explained only by some unfathomable deal with Satan," he writes. Ty Burr also remarks on the appearance of Sutherland and Spacek in a film that he calls "cringingly awful." On the other hand, Gene Seymour in Newsday calls it "a crafty mystery with a lot of joy-buzzer jolts sliding through it somber mood."