People often think that Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick haven’t really done anything since creating the runaway horror hit The Blair Witch Project. While they certainly didn’t rush out to attach their names to anything and everything, they have managed to provide movie fans with a number of interesting movies. In fact, I saw Altered a few years ago and still recommend it to people seeking out some lesser-known and impressive horror.
Well, I assume that nobody will be surprised when I say that Lovely Molly is about a young woman named Molly (played by Gretchen Lodge). Molly and her husband, Tim (the late Johnny Lewis), as they settle into married life and settle in to the house that used to belong to Molly’s parents. The house, however, comes with a lot of buried secrets, memories that Molly has tried to push so far down into her subconscious that they never bother her again. So when things begin to occur in the house – noises in the night, a presence that Molly can sense – it’s debatable whether or not Molly is being haunted or whether or not she is being plagued by her own childhood traumas.
Lovely Molly is a good horror movie. It’s almost very good, actually. The script by Sanchez and Jamie Nash weaves a lot of wonderful little touches throughout, even in the way that the whole thing opens with footage shot by a camcorder. Fans of The Blair Witch Project may think that they’re getting another movie of that kind but they’d be wrong. Instead, the direction from Sanchez seems to delight in throwing curveballs as often as possible and leading viewers on a merry dance but while all that is going on the film DOES deliver some solid horror movie moments. There’s also some great use of audio again, something that Sanchez has used to such great effect in previous outings. Sadly, it’s never as clever as it wants to be. The ambiguity that runs through a lot of the movie isn’t actually all that ambiguous for the middle section of the movie and that’s quite a disappointment. There’s also an ending that runs the risk of annoying viewers and undoing the good work that came before it.
The acting from everyone onscreen is very good, especially from Gretchen Lodge as the damaged and frightened Molly. Johnny Lewis is believable as the husband who wants to help someone he loves, even if his character seems to put up with far too much by the time the movie gets ready to wrap everything up. Alexandra Holden also does well as Hannah, Molly’s sister and the one person who comes close to realising the full impact of that horrible childhood.
It’s easy to see how Lovely Molly will, for different reasons, prove as divisive as that little “found footage” horror movie that really launched his career but it’s worth watching at least once to make up your mind about it. Despite a number of flaws in the plotting, it sets itself up as a horror movie aimed at adults and, love or hate it, it sticks to that remit until the end credits roll.
Lovely Molly hits DVD and Bluray on 22nd October. It comes on a disc that holds the theatrical trailer and 4 featurettes – Path To Madness, Haunted Past, Demonic Forces, Is It Real? – in a fake documentary style looking at the events depicted in the movie, the history of the area and the making of the film. Each featurette runs for about 7 minutes. They’re okay but also completely unnecessary because there isn’t as strong a mythos depicted here, unlike the supplementary material that accompanied the DVD release of The Blair Witch Project, for example.
DIRECTOR: EDUARDO SANCHEZ
WRITER: EDUARDO SANCHEZ, JAMIE NASH
STARS: GRETCHEN LODGE, ALEXANDRA HOLDEN, JOHNNY LEWIS, KEN ARNOLD, LAUREN LAKIS
RUNTIME: 99 MINS APPROX