Lovely Molly

{Cross-posted to Three Imaginary Girls

Opening with a “found footage” sequence (expected by Director Eduardo Sanchez, one-half of the writing and directing team that brought us The Blair Witch Project) packed with intense emotion, Lovely Molly then backtracks to start at the beginning.

Scraping together money to start their new life together, young married couple Molly and Tim Reynolds move back into her parent’s home: a spooky out-in-the-middle of nowhere 18th century house that Molly will be spending a LOT of time alone in while her husband works long hour trucking across the country.

It isn’t long before Molly starts being terrorized by sounds of footsteps, slamming doors, and an eerily haunting singsong voice that she believes is her dead father. As Molly slips deeper into depression and despair, the details of her tortured childhood are slowly revealed: horrible physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her father that led her to retreat into heavy drug use and destructive behavior, which she is repeating again with an even faster—and scarier—descent.

And this is where I disagree with most of the reviews I’ve read about this movie that say, “it’s not scary”, because it’s actually fucking terrifying. The thing is, the most frightening thing about Lovely Molly isn’t the horror aspect of the story—it’s the past demons that Molly is facing that make you feel true terror. 

The scary things portrayed here are VERY REAL scary things; and as you watch Molly fall apart and descend into madness, you question whether or not there are supernatural forces at work—and if it even matters that there might be. There is real and utterly gut-wrenching terror being shown onscreen, and by the time the movie shifts to its bloody conclusion, I was already so traumatized that the graphic and gory images didn’t even faze me.

As far as the supernatural aspect of the film, hints of the occult and ghosty happenings do pop up, but they aren’t the main focus. It actually looks like they spent more time on the website creating a fake history of the house’s many murders and hauntings than they cut into the movie, including some mock interviews with townspeople about the house (scroll over the bricks to view videos), and a close-up of the mysterious symbols (showcasing the horse-headed demon Prince of Hell, Orobas) that Molly revisits in a hidden room underneath the garage.

While I do wish Sanchez had included more of the house’s history in the film, I can see why he didn’t; it ends up having much more impact without. Gretchen Lodge’s performance is completely raw, and she does an absolutely fantastic job showing us Molly’s disintegration. There’s one scene in particular that I think is amazing: while being shown a video of what appears to be a ghost brutally raping her at her workplace, she breaks into laughter and then starts hysterically recounting the experience to her horrified boss, who is unable to see the perpetrator.

Instead of using found footage for the whole movie, Sanchez chooses to have the main character pick up the video camera sporadically so that it’s interspersed with regular camera work—something I appreciate because it’s hard for me to get into a story when I have to believe that a person would walk around with a camera on every second of the day. Most effectively, the video camera is used in a way that gives you glimpses into her crumbling mental state.

The end result is the viewer having to second-guess what they’ve seen, and watching the main character sprint WAY past the point of no return is absolutely and completely terrifying. It’s a psychological horror film that will haunt me for a long, long time, and I can only recommend it to hardcore fans of the genre.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Angela

     /  October 7, 2012

    I loved this movie. I completely agree with the previous comments. The main character’s performance along with her abusive past and her physical and emotional deterioration make this movie terrifying by itself. Then the possible supernatural element is added which adds to the horror and made this movie a terrifying watch for me.

    Reply

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