Mania Review: Lovely Molly (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Have you ever purchased a jar bound candle? They come in a cornucopia of scents. Lovely Molly is very much like one of these. If pressed to name it's smell, I'd probably go with despair. There's a hopelessness built into Molly's madness, but it isn't alone. Mixed in are aromas of demonic possession, rage, addiction, and brutal finality. Taken together, they make up the fragrance of a modern, small budget horror film that has much promise, and manages to deliver on some of it. However, like that time you brought home a candle with a bum wick, this film just can't keep the flame of scary burning for the entire duration.
This yarn begins via hand held, POV snippets, detailing Molly's marriage to Tim, and their moving back into the house that she grew up in. As the sun sets on the credits, we switch to a conventional filming style. This is a slight disappointment, since Lovely Molly is written and directed by Eduardo Sanchez, who held the same jobs on The Blair Witch Project. If there's anyone whom I'd love to see expand more into the POV horror genre, it's Mr.Sanchez. All that is forgiven, though, as we get a face full of the excellent cinematography on display here. The camera work, and shot composition is fantastic. It's the best feature of this film.
As is often the case, in these stories, something terrible happened in this house; and that something is back. Or is the "thing" all a product of Molly's personal demons? Perhaps it's a combination of the two. With Tim always on the road (he's a truck driver), there are plenty of opportunities for otherworldly harassment. As she tumbles down the haunted rabbit hole of insanity, Molly visibly deteriorates; her mind becoming less able to process and connect with reality. Kudos to Gretchen Lodge, as she turns in a strong performance in the title role. The acting across the board is top notch, but we spend so much time with her that it's critical she deliver, and she does. Even more impressive is this feat, when taking into account that it's her first film role.
Where the film falls flat is in it's creation of suspense. There are certainly tense moments, but they always seem to back off before the point of causing real fear for the audience. It's would be like Spinal Tap cranking the volume but stoping halfway to eleven. Lovely Molly brings the scary, but it never quite buries the accelerator into the firewall. Still, there's a lot of slick cinematography, strong acting performances, and the hint of something more, bubbling below the surface. I recommend checking it out, though more as a study in madness and drug addiction than for scares. Interestingly, the special features keep a straight face and come off as more chilling than the movie as a result.
Lovely Molly is already available via video on demand from Image Entertainment and hits DVD and Blu-ray on August 28th. Let me know what you thought of it.
Chuck Francisco is a columnist for Mania writing Saturday Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a horror co-host of two monthly film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA (home of 1958's 'The Blob'): First Friday Fright Nights and Colonial Cult Cinema.You can delve further into his love of all things weird and campy on his blog, The Midnight Cheese or hear him occasionally guesting on eminent podcast You've Got Geek.
Mania Grade: C+
Title: Lovely Molly
Starring: Alexandra Holden, Johnny Lewis, Gretchen Lodge, Todd Ryan Jones
Directed by: Eduardo Sanchez
Written by: Eduardo Sanchez, Jamie Nash
Distributor: Image Entertainment, 2012
Extras: Path to Madness, Haunted Past, Demonic Forces, Is it Real?