Lovely Molly is the kind of horror film that will trick you into thinking that it's not really a horror film. But, it is a horror film. Right? I mean...it's got demonic possessions and evil spirits butt-raping people...so, it has to be a horror film...right?? Not so fast there, little buddy!
Now, I'm not trying to pick on this film. Because, for the most part, it is a scary little trip into a young woman's fight to gain control of her psyche by way of creepy atmosphere and spook house terror. However, it presents a sort of..."was it all just the traumatic experiences that led to her spiral decent into insanity?" kind of storytelling that just frustrates the fuck out of me lately. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy those "choose your own interpretation" kind of films every now and again. But, enough is enough, man! Give us a good old fashioned scare the fuck out of me kind of horror film that never allows you to second guess if the evil that is presented is man-made or devil-made! Jesus Christ...is that too much to ask for these days??
The film is written and directed by Eduardo Sánchez, whom you'll remember as the co-writer/co-director of a little film that pretty much opened up the flood gates of found footage horror...The Blair Witch Project. Here, Sánchez revisits that familiar territory during little cuts here and there of someone filming various POV shots of some kind of underground shrine as well as various stages of stalking...complete with eerie singing/humming. The areas where Sánchez truly shines as a filmmaker are in the actual film's camera work when it's not done in found footage style. The man definitely knows his way around the director's chair.
The film opens on a familiar nod to the film that put him on the map. A young, scared woman talking into a camera...sans nose liquids. It is the titular Molly desperately making a plea to whomever happens across this particular video just before the fit hits the shan. Then, we are introduced to her wedding day. Eduardo dumps the whole "found footage" thing (for now) and takes us into the house where Molly evidently grew up. It is here where she and her newly wed husband, Tim (a convincing Johnny Lewis), decide to move into.
Now, because the film is called Lovely Molly and it primarily focuses on Molly's journey into darkness...every thread of responsibility for the success of the film lies on the actress playing Molly. Sánchez and company would have to make sure the actress they ultimately find has the right kind of talent to portray such a role. Enter Gretchen Lodge. A revelation. It is because of her that this film works and I'm ultimately not as annoyed as I could've been with the whole horror vs. psychological drama thing. Lodge is just the right kind of hot (she gets nekkid!), just the right kind of fragile and just the right kind of "holy shit shoot that crazy bitch" to pull off the role of Molly. She will go onto bigger things.
Well, it's not long before Molly starts freaking Tim and her sister, Hannah (the super familiar Alexandra Holden), out in ways that would've made me leave her ass a long time ago. However, Lodge plays Molly so well that you can see the desperation pouring from her eyes despite her maniacal laughing in some scenes.
It is also not long that we are introduced to the red herring that annoyed me the most in the film. The traumatic family issues and the eventual drug addiction stuff that steers the bus away from genre territory and takes the next exit into Lifetime drama. Had Sánchez stayed the course and delivered a much more daring horror film rather than a film strewn with chicks with disturbing daddy issues, the film would've been much scarier. I dunno...I guess I'm just sick of horror films that cop out and take a much more digestible course for the sake of "familiar elements" and "social awareness". Those things are fine, if you layer them within your horror film and not make it a focal point. Here, you could pretty much just omit the "scary door" stuff and all the creepy atmosphere and you got yourself a movie about the horrors of taking drugs.
But, still...Lovely Molly is a good film by a good filmmaker. It's chockful of stuff that made him famous in the first place. And it presents a path for Sánchez to make meaningful films in the future. I'm just not sure if he should stay in the genre. His next film (working title Exists) will go into bigfoot territory, so he doesn't have any plans of leaving horror films for now. But, I think his style is probably better suited for a full blown drama, rather than horror cock-tease.
It's currently available as an On Demand film and it will probably be released to DVD soon. It is worth a look. Just don't expect to be scared as much as you'll be disturbed. A fucking dear??
Why So Serious? (sorry couldn't resist)
Thanks for reading,