Director Eduardo Sanchez raises important issues in Lovely Molly while remaining true to the horror genre.
Reviewed by Marc Glassman
This intriguing psychological horror film has attracted a lot of attention because its director Eduardo Sanchez was one of the two filmmakers involved with the hugely successful Blair Witch Project. Is this Sanchez’ comeback film? Many claim that it is.
Horror film; psychological thriller; haunted house story; terrifying tale of revenge and madness
Molly, a lovely young bride, moves into her parents’ old house in the countryside with her nice and handsome husband, Tim. One night, they’re disturbed by noises in the middle of the night. When the police come to investigate, a door is found open but there’s no sign of forced entry.
Things begin to unravel for the young couple as the dreadful noises continue. Tim is a trucker and has to leave town quite often, leaving Molly, a custodial worker in a local mall, stuck alone in the house. Despite offers to stay with her sister Hannah, Molly refuses to burden her by moving in with her family when Tim is away.
Things go from bad to worse for Molly. She can’t sleep and either is possessed by a spirit in the house—presumably her dead father—or is going mad. It turns out that Molly has been committed to an institution before—and that she has been a heroin addict. She fights with her boss and loses her job. When Pastor Bobby comes to help her spiritually, she flirts outrageously with him.
Increasingly alienated and utterly spooked by things that she may or may not have seen and heard in the house, Molly becomes more and more irrational. Even Tim and Hannah can’t seem to reach her.
What will Molly do? Fight or die? Or accept the demon that may be within her and kill others?
Newcomer Gretchen Lodge is terrific as Molly. She has a natural style that makes her completely believable for much of the film. That’s important—because what’s happening to Molly is strange and quite disturbing. If the audience doesn’t find Lodge’s character compelling, the film wouldn’t work at all.
Also quite good is Alexandra Holden as Hannah. Lodge and Holden play blue-collar characters, maintenance workers in a shopping centre, and they are utterly convincing in those roles.
Eduardo Sanchez still loves shaky cameras, visits to shockingly creepy basements and lots of disturbing music. You can’t take Blair Witch out of him! But this film offers far better performances and a more interesting (though illogical) script than Sanchez’s fluky blockbuster. He may finally be growing up as a director.
Sanchez has the wit to place Gretchen Lodge’s Molly in an ambiguous position: is she a victim of possession or simply going mad? Is she responsible for actions? Sanchez raises important issues in Lovely Molly while remaining true to the horror genre. The word will soon be out—Sanchez is back.