February 5, 2013

Lovely Molly (2011)

Directed by Eduardo Sánchez. Starring Gretchen Lodge ("Molly"), Johnny Lewis ("Tim"), Alexandra Holden ("Hannah"), and Field Blauvelt ("Pastor Bobby"). Rated R.

Source: Region 1 DVD (Image)
Running time: 01:39:51
Country: USA

I can't remember the last time I hit play on a DVD and it went straight to the movie. No studio logo, nothing. Not only that, but LOVELY MOLLY opens with some sort of weird confessional, shot on home video, involving the eponymous Molly that's a cunt hair away from taking a shocking turn. LOVELY MOLLY is off to a great, intense start so far. It instantly grabs you by the throat and, for the most part, never lets go for the duration of the film. Directed by one half of the duo that brought us THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, this particular movie revolves around happy newlyweds Tim (Half Sack from SONS OF ANARCHY!) and Molly. They move into Molly's childhood home, and old memories come back to haunt Molly, causing her to slip into an incredibly dark place as those around her helplessly watch.

LOVELY MOLLY is an intense psychological horror movie in the vein of Roman Polanski's REPULSION, except in this case it's crystal clear that there's a lot more going on than someone descending into madness. Essentially, it's also a ghost story, but the film goes places that very few horror movies go these days in terms of how it presents hauntings. Take every story you've ever heard - regardless of how real or fake they sound - that involve people being terrorized by abusive ghosts, throw them in a blender, and you'll get a concoction that's comparable to what happens to this film's unfortunate lead character.

Truth be told, I couldn't quite tell exactly what the fuck was going on for a good portion of the movie, but that ended up being a good thing. As the story unravels, more clues are revealed in regards to Molly's past that, without giving us solid answers, make sense of most of what's transpired up to that point. Anyone who's seen BLAIR WITCH knows that one of the reasons that it was so effective as a horror movie was because it didn't show you anything; instead, it let us as viewers use our imaginations, and sometimes what we imagine is even worse than what's really going on. Such is the case with LOVELY MOLLY, and this is why it succeeds as a horror film. Since Tim is a truck driver, he's gone for long periods of time, which makes Molly more vulnerable to whatever it is that's going on. Her experiences are intercut with bizarre home video footage that was supposedly shot by her, and this makes up a lot of the movie.

It's hard to explain and this may not make any sense, but it's almost like Molly is living in a horror movie. I mean, she's obviously a character in a horror movie, but I meant that in a somewhat "meta" sense, in that she's sort of representative of the audience. At times, she's just as clueless to what's going on as we are, so it's like we're experiencing the terror with her. I already use the word "tense" as a descriptor of the film, but I feel like I truly need to emphasize it. When it's all said and done, is LOVELY MOLLY a "scary" film? Perhaps; to some people it will be (and is), but the scare factor pales in comparison to the tension, the atmosphere, and the occasionally shocking brutality. I'd also be remiss if I failed to mention lead actress Gretchen Lodge, who does a great job of carrying a majority of the film. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this a great, mind-blowing horror movie, but it is a very good one. One of the things that keeps it from being great, in my opinion, is that, aside from a creepy-as-fuck visual reveal towards the end, it doesn't really go anywhere. It's a film full of great ideas and creative gags but without much of a story to back guide it along. A lack of a story isn't necessarily a problem with me when it comes to horror movies, but it is when a film establishes something and doesn't really do a good job of following through with it. Still recommended, though, and worth a watch.

Score: 7


  1. I really enjoyed this one. Emotionally gut-wrenching and actually scary. Great date movie.

  2. Great review, Aaron. And another argument for why Lovely Molly is so effective. I actually had the total opposite point of view on it: I thought the whole thing was in her head. You can argue both sides of the coin: it's a real haunting or it's psychological. I would also highly suggest this to people who thought the Blair Witch was just hype. This is proof that the filmmakers had skills galore and knew what they were doing.

    1. Thanks, Dusty! See, there were a few things in the movie (that I noticed anyway) that would contradict the idea that it was purely psychological and that everything was in her head. I could be wrong though. To be fair, you're right, one could easily make the argument for either and there probably wouldn't be a solid answer.