Lovely Molly Reviews
The secret to enjoying at least 75% of the smaller, independent horror films released today lies in the ability to suspend disbelief and forgive a lack of true solution. I feel that's what makes a lot of films - both horror and not - fascinating in the sense that they don't provide us with all the answers and essentially force us to think for ourselves (gasp). Is it such a crime that a filmmaker aside from David Lynch (who's famous for doing this) to ask us to play detective for a few hours? I don't think so. If you've been following Eduardo Sanchez since the beginning, you'll know that he's no newbie to ambiguous horror that is open to a number of different interpretations. "Lovely Molly" keeps the tradition going with plenty of pizazz and intrigue. I'll admit that it's more of a while-it-lasts type experience than a film that delivers substantial payoff, but it hits you and it hits you hard.
The titular Molly (Gretchen Lodge) is a newlywed who is just settling down in her parent's house, the same house where she grew up as a kid, with her husband Tim (Johnny Lewis). Molly is a recovering drug addict with a sister named Hannah (Alexandra Holden) who also lives nearby. The film begins with the triggering of a downstairs security alarm in the middle of the night that could not have possibly been triggered, since Tim is so sure he locked it before the couple went to bed. By day, he's not around and neither is Molly since she has found work at a local superstore (with Hannah). Sometimes he must go off on business for a few days, leaving Molly all alone. Business unfortunately lands on Molly's birthday, and beyond.
Molly begins having strange experiences around the house. Child-like voices are heard coming from the closet, unseen forces are communicating directly with her, and she's starting to pick up her old habits (drug abuse) yet again. When not high on the drugs, Molly is almost psycho-sexual and obsessive. Her behavior bothers Tim, provoking him to call in the local priest (Field Blauvelt), and we all know how reliable he will be. It seems that Molly might be possessed by something. Footage taken from her handheld video camera indicates that the house might have a dark past hidden somewhere in the cellar, although nothing is said for sure. This is another one of those downwards spiral horror films; although by now you should be aware of what I sucker I am for those.
Sanchez doesn't bring anything particularly "new" to the multiple genres he's tackling; we've seen this all before and indeed it's been done both better and worse. But once again, I succumb to the fact that he's able to successfully do so many things at once. It proves that he possesses (no pun intended) a natural talent for merging drama with horror. While it's not as much an emotional knock-out as it is an exhausting genre exercise; "Lovely Molly" still packs more of a sucker punch to the gut than most horror films I've seen of recent. Some scenes, like one involving Molly discovering drugs and the tools that one would use to utilize them hidden inside a teddy bear from her childhood in the attic, are absolutely ominous. I might like it even more than I did Sanchez's "Altered", which I gave the same rating. They exist on somewhat different grounds but share similar traits nonetheless.
But "Lovely Molly" harkens back to the film that made Sanchez a filmmaker to watch; "The Blair Witch Project". That's a film that I love no matter what the naysayers might say, and while I feel it will always be his baby, "Lovely Molly" utilizes similar slow-rising tension with effective bursts of absolutely animalistic terror. To tell the truth, I thought this movie was disturbing. Not just in what it shows, but what it implies and expects us to create within our minds. I dug the elaborate visual style, the spooky sound design, the themes (I like the aspect of the men who surround Molly in life), and the overall mood of the picture. I believe it will go on to be one of this year's most prized genre possessions, since there don't seem to be THAT many other worthy contenders. This is thoughtful, entertaining genre filmmaking. It's not the best for its kind, and again I will say that it's going to upset those who want straight endings and answers; although I'd rather something choose to be ambiguous and engaging rather than conventional. "Lovely Molly" says no to the easy way out; which is precisely why it lingers for so long afterwards and is more experience than narrative.
Lovely Molly has something of Blair Witch going on with the uncertainty of what's going to happen next and why. Surely, we know right from the start that the main character is a troubled one but the director skillfully blends many genres to make the viewer unconfortable thanks to that uneasiness it creates right from the start. Is it a haunting? A psychological thriller? A possession? An indie character study? It doesn't matter for it pays in visceral effect without being explicit.
The themes it approaches on the "men" surrounding Moly's life is smart and shares something similiar like last year's also fantastic Martha Marcy May Marlene.
It's nothing you haven't seen before on the genres I mentioned early on but the approach is spot on.
Add a great, convincing and tough performance by the lead, smart cinematography that like the genres it approaches, uses different techniques to make it work, a haunting dronish soundtrack by Tortoise, smart sound design and this is a little success that unfortunently went unnoticed.
Don't expect easy answers of a "resolution", just experience it and it might affect you like it did to me.
As she begins to show signs of changing, everyone around her becomes worried about her and don't know how to help her. Meanwhile, she slowly becomes one with the evil that lives inside the house.
When the previews came out for this film, it said this was a revolutionary journey into a new brand of horror, with amazing performances and an ending that will leave you breathless. As it is with these low budget horror flicks, the previews were highly misleading. Think "Paranormal Activity" without the shaky cam and that's "Lovely Molly."
The acting was slightly better than normal, and the setting was eerie overall, but other than that there wasn't much to be afraid of.
On a side note, it was weird watching Johnny Lewis in this film, especially after his real life death and supposed murder of his elderly landlord before he committed suicide. Seeing him in this film gave a dark insight into his possible decent into true evil.
I love when movies make you think, and this movie makes you think a lot. The acting was very well done by Gretchen Lodge. There were a few scares..the film is more based on tension then actually scares. I love found footage movies and the Blair Witch was an amazing movie. This does not even come close to the Blair Witch but it was still a freaking wierd, messed up, psychological thriller that you won't forget.
Molly and new husband Tim move into an older home from her side of the family. Tim is a truck driver who is away a lot on work.
First up, their security system gets tripped and they cannot explain to the sheriff what did it. They get to know the sheriff, who remembers when Molly's father died in the house.
Molly starts hearing voices on Tim's next trip, the day after her birthday. Then the bumps in the night, the sobs Molly hears when she is alone at night, and lights turned on but not my Molly.
Great, handheld camera footage at night with light that is about 5% sufficient. I had thought that this was at least not Blair Witch level bovine scatology.
When Tim returns, Molly is alone naked in one of their bedrooms, staring at the wall. Tim soon segues to 'do you want to see a doctor?' and 'are you using again?' So, is the film psychological drama (denies the supernatural, and she's insane) or horror (embraces the supernatural, it's not just Molly) ?
Christian rock concert, followed by church. Her sister asks where she's been, as in not at work. The next time Tim is gone, Molly gets out her teddy bear, and opens up a photo album that clearly makes her sad. The bear is where she keeps her stash. She gets more reclusive at work, asking to work where no one will see her. She starts hearing voices at work. Some CCTV footage her boss shows her that something is seriously wrong. She goes off on her boss, claiming things happened that are not in the footage.
Looks like drug-induced hallucinations with unresolved underlying psychological problems. I'm still waiting for the horror part of the movie, 49 minutes in.
She consults with her pastor while wearing a black negligee. Great. The seduction fails. Well, the first time. She seeks help from her sister.
Tim returns to the house being filled with a horrible smell. He finds Molly's drug paraphernalia in open sight.
At 59 minutes in, Tim hears Molly making a video. She introduces Tim to her father, who's dead. Oh, goodness. Molly insists that she is not crazy. Next stop, medical tests, to be followed by psychiatric tests if the sleeping aids do not do the job.
Molly kisses Tim, then bites him badly, causing a great deal of bleeding.
Things go downhill from there. No signs of the supernatural, just one psychotic drug addict.
Cinematography: 4/10 Poor. The interior shots and night shots tend to look bad. Focus, camera jump, panning that is too rapid. Tungsten yellow prevalent. Segments of night filming from low end hand held camera. Lots of footage where there is not enough light to capture enough information to prevent pixelation at the user end.
Sound: 8/10 Actors seem adequately miked. Creaky doors. Irritating incidental music.
Acting: 0/10 Terrible. I did not believe a single player.
Screenplay: 2/10 Merely poor as a psychological drama where the protagonist is crushed instead of defeating the trauma. This is a complete bust as horror.