Thirteen years after The Blair Witch Project, filmmaker Eduardo Sanchez hasn’t changed a bit. If you like the genre he helped pioneer, then you may not mind Lovely Molly. Me? I think he needs to either move on or move aside. Bringing nothing new to the table visually or in the narrative sense, this movie is maybe just barely worth a look when it hits DVD, but I don’t recommend shelling out big-screen dough to see it.
A mix of “found footage” and cinema verite style shooting, the story follows former heroin addict Molly (Gretchen Lodge), newlywed and moving back into her remote family home with her groom, Tim (Johnny Lewis). Unfortunately, Molly’s dead dad hasn’t vacated the premises. His abuse on Molly as a youngster still haunts her, as evidenced by lots of strange noises in the night, rattling doorknobs, rampant exposition, and the smell of a rotting corpse.
Tim witnesses the sound of a burglar alarm going off, and a few noises, but mostly he’s unconvinced anything’s amiss and off he goes on the inevitable work-related trip, leaving his skittish spouse home alone. As Molly’s sanity spirals from her control, her sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) steps in and tries to allay Molly’s fears with a joint… oops. Not the best option for an already paranoid ex-addict. As the chain of events becomes more and more unhinged, we’re left to wonder if it’s real or if it’s memory-effects. Problem is, we don’t really care.
Using creaky old scare tactics such as quickly cutting to black, ramping up the music, using ethereal voices to call out from unseen hiding places, or showing dark stairs leading to darkness, there’s not much here in the way of visuals. The acting and the dialogue go hand-in-hand in unevenness, but perhaps the most egregious of sins is the exposition on top of nonsense (hubby is a teamster truck driver, but doesn’t have health insurance; doctor prescribes a narcotic to former drug abuser Molly; dad was an avid professional horseman, but there don’t seem to be any stables at the homestead). What’s more, the movie is at least 20 minutes too long.
While I didn’t totally hate it – it starts off promisingly, and there are a few decent mysterious moments – I can’t say Molly is lovely enough to recommend.
= = =
Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson