Here, Now – It’s been awhile since I posted a movie recommendation, but not from a lack of watching any. I have six movies I think a lot of you DD’ers will enjoy, starting with LOVELY MOLLY. It’s a horror film directed by Eduardo Sanchez, one of the creators of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, who went on to direct a few direct-to-video movies that didn’t come anywhere close to being as popular with audiences or critics as Blair Witch (although I did enjoy ALTERED). From the looks of the MOLLY reviews, it seems like that streak continues with yet another VOD release.
MOLLY currently has a 42% ranking at Rotten Tomatoes, and top critics use terms like “reductive and histrionic,” as well as “depressing and lazily nonsensical” when describing the film; those who enjoyed it call it creepy, disturbing, and effective at creating a sense of unease. I fall somewhere in the latter camp. I really liked LOVELY MOLLY and thought it was disorientating enough, with just enough creepiness, to overcome its flaws. Here’s the official synopsis:
When newlywed Molly Reynolds returns to her long-abandoned family home, reminders of a nightmarish childhood begin seeping into her new life. A malevolent force, whether her own haunted past or some supernatural ‘thing,’ tirelessly seeks to overwhelm her. Alone and isolated in a centuries-old house, she soon begins an inexorable descent into depravity. Somewhere in the house, in the terrible space between psychosis and possession, lies and evil that will pull Molly and all those around her into darkness and death.
MOLLY isn’t an action-packed kind of horror film, and is more of a slow burner that has an overall feeling of dread permeating throughout as the events in the house start to escalate. The catch is that Molly (played by a very naked Gretchen Lodgen in her debut) may or may not be imagining everything happening around her. The more time she spends alone in the home she grew up in, the more her past comes back to haunt her. This past is chock full of all kinds of nastiness, including sexual abuse at the hands of her father (who ended up dead under mysterious circumstances), drug addiction and a stint at a psychiatric facility. She seems to have made a remarkable comeback leaving the viewer to wonder if the events taking place in the home are a by-product of Molly’s spiral into madness brought on by childhood trauma or, as Molly believes, are being orchestrated by a supernatural entity.
I understand the complaints aimed at the film–in particular, the feeling that you’re being presented a jigsaw puzzle with a fair number of pieces missing. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t need a movie to explain everything to me. I like movies that give you just enough material to work things out on your own and form your own conclusions. However, MOLLY blatantly focuses on items and symbols (like the horse head featured on the posters and box art) that are like blinking arrows screaming, “Hey! Look! This is important!” but with no follow-through. It’s not hard to figure out that Molly was abused as a kid, fell into drug use, and spent time in a mental hospital, but what’s up with the screwdriver featured so prominently? The horse head symbols? Molly stalking the neighbor? They definitely factor into the overall story in some way, but with such little information given, you’ll have a hell of a time figuring out how.
Of course, some may argue this is all part of letting the viewer use these clues to figure things out on their own. I would agree, even if I would add it was poorly done, if it had not been for the extra featurettes on the Bluray (which are also available on their official site) which pretty much answer all of these lingering questions. Thus, considering that there was a fleshed out backstory to Molly’s life, her father and his mysterious death, and the house in general…why not put some of that in the film and use extremely vague references that do nothing but muddy the plot? Lastly, I cannot begin to explain the level of stupidity Molly’s husband reaches. No spoilers, but I highly doubt anyone would go through what this man does and stick around. Anyone who does deserves everything that happens to them.
So those were my biggest issues. But what Sanchez did get right are some very memorable and disturbing scenes that include one showcasing Molly’s love for a maggoty deer and another of a possible ghost rape caught on surveillance camera. Sound was also used superbly, with enough creaking doors, stomping footsteps, and other “bump in the night” type shenanigans to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Coupled with the post-rock band Tortoise’s haunting soundtrack, MOLLY often succeeds in creating a sense of dread and foreboding, sometimes on the level of SESSION 9 (one of the only films in recent memory that truly skeeved me out). Also, while not on my list of must-haves in a movie to make it worth watching, anyone looking for a bit of T & A won’t be disappointed since Lodgen shows pretty much everything, sans butthole, throughout the film’s runtime.
While I wouldn’t count LOVELY MOLLY among my favorite horror films, it isn’t on my list of the worst. Even with the flaws, Sanchez was still able to produce an effective psychological horror film that I wouldn’t recommend you buy but would comfortably say is worth a rental.