May 18, 2012
Eduardo Sanchez and Jamie Nash
Gretchen Lodge as Molly
Alexandra Holden as Hannah
Johnny Lewis as Tim
Ken Arnold as Samuels
Molly (Gretchen Lodge) has recently married Tim (Johnny Lewis), her sweetheart and a man who deeply loves and cares for her. They move into her childhood house. Both of her parents are dead. Her pretty sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) is against the idea, though, due to the fact that Molly was a drug addict and the possibility that her father may have abused her as a child (something hinted at, but never fully revealed in the film). Tim is a truck-driver and has to be away for a bunch of days at a time. Meanwhile, Molly, who works as a custodian at a mall, is soon haunted by what appears to be the ghost of her dad, who tries to possess her. Or is it that she’s using heroin again? Or maybe it is that she’s mentally disturbed due to what has happened in her life. Whatever the cause maybe Molly delves deeper into madness and disturbing behavior, as she slowly spirals out of control.
Bought to us by director and co-writer Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project), Lovely Molly is as complex a movie as it is uneven. The movie starts off in a manner that would lead you to believe that this is a typical and generic haunted house film, but as it advances it slowly reveals its layers and it quickly becomes clear that this movie is more than meets the eye. It has a hard emotional and psychological edge that gives it a deepness not usually associated with the majority of haunted house or possession films. You truly want to see what’s going to happen next even if that is not always easy or pleasant.
Sanchez is a good director. He pulls off some very suspenseful and creepy moments. Some of the shots in the film are particularly good, as is the editing. It all adds to up some scary, disturbing, and strong moments that keep your eyes glued to the screen. Not as good are the found footage type shots, taken by Molly. These shots seem forced more to underscore Sanchez’ connection toThe Blair Witch Project than anything else. But, admittedly, even in these there are a few creepy and uncomfortable moments.
Lovely Molly reaches its zenith of shock and disturbing power in the horrifying climax. This certainly isn’t a feel good movie and as it progresses it is even less so. It really had me up until this point, well held in its’ icy cold grasp. Unfortunately, it completely lost me at the odd ending which will leave many asking “that’s it?!” The biggest complaint is that it breaks the ambiguity of the movie, which is one the things that I most liked about it. Ultimately the ending leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Lovely Molly does not have a lot of gore, but that which is contained is pretty shocking at times. In particular there is one moment that hurt just looking at. Sexuality has an even stronger presence in the film with a particularly hot sex scene that ranks as one of the years hottest. It also has full frontal nudity from the movie’s beautiful lead star, Gretchen Lodge. She has an incredible body!
The beautiful lead actress is the biggest and best reason to see this movie. Not just simply for Lodge’s looks, but because she pulls a tour-de-force performance – the best I’ve seen from anyone, male or female, in a horror film – and one of the finest from any genre this year. She inspires so much pathos from us. We truly feel for her, and for this movie’s most basic premise to work that is incredibly important. It’s a performance that is so deep and works on so many different levels; She is, at different times, fragile, sympathetic, seductive, scary, weird, and dangerous. She gets good help from her supporting cast as well, as Lewis is quite good as her sympathetic husband. I felt what he was going through and was with him for most of the film. Holden is also excellent as her sweet and longsuffering, due to Molly’s issues, sister.
This is Sanchez’s best film since The Blair Witch Project, though it still doesn’t reach the level of quality that one did. It is, though, a much better film than either than Altered which filled me with complete apathy or the terrible Seventh Moon, a film so bad that not even Amy Smart’s hotness could save it. Lovely Molly has the signs of a film that could have been great, but ends up just decent enough instead. An uneven piece of cinema that despite its short comings has enough solid points that it gets a recommendation from me, as well as the signs of a great acting career for Lodge. Just be prepared for the crappy ending.