Lovely Molly is a film that I knew absolutely nothing about, beyond the fact that it existed, and was directed by Eduardo Sanchez, director of The Blair Witch Project. After festival screenings, and an extremely limited theatrical run, opinions varied greatly. I’ve heard from some that it was a terrifying experience, and that they loved every second of it, while others felt the film was a little lacking. Image Entertainment sent me the Blu Ray to take a look at, which is being released on the 28th of August. I sat down to watch the movie with my wife, as I assumed it was a haunted house story, and she loves such things. The reality of the situation is, even after watching, I have no idea how to label Lovely Molly. Ghosts? Possession? Manic depression? Drug addiction? Pick one of these topic and you’d be able to accurately, yet vaguely describe the happenings that unfold. It’s not a clear-cut movie that spoon feeds the viewer each and every detail of the plot, but that doesn’t necessary lend to quality.
The story follows Molly and Tim, who have just moved into Molly’s childhood home. Molly’s parents are recently deceased, and apparently, life in said home wasn’t always the happiest. Since leaving the home, Molly has dealt with her own problems, mostly stemmed from her unhappy childhood. Molly begins to experience what she perceives as hostile visits from her dead father, but her history of depression and addiction is causing those closest to her to have trouble believing that the things she claims to be experiencing are anything but figments of her imagination.
There are some genuinely tense moments in this film, as well as some overwhelmingly disturbing imagery. The problem I had, was that it doesn’t necessarily fit together as a competent narrative. I don’t expect to have every little thing explained to me, but it doesn’t hurt to have some kind of idea what is going on. I understand that much is left to interpretation. I’m not complaining about the fact that you’re never told whether or not Molly is haunted, or if she’s just crazy. But there are little things that happen during the film that are never explained at all. I’m not going to get into specifics, because I already feel as if I’ve been treading on spoiler territory, but once you watch the film, you’ll likely know what I’m referring to.
Gretchen Lodge does a great job as Molly. The role called for a lot of dirt, grime, and full frontal nudity, and she pulled it off amazingly, and was easy to believe as a hauntee/psychopath. Some of her facial expressions throughout the film are absolutely haunting. Lovely Molly marks her film debut, so I hope to see her popping up in more things going forward.
I can’t say that I would recommend Lovely Molly to the casual viewer. There are plenty of tense, scary moments that would make anyone jump, but the narrative is jumbled, and there is no real conclusion to the story. The editing feels a bit rough at times, with scenes that feel like the should be key moments in the film being cut short, and quickly jumping to scenes that are seemingly unrelated. I didn’t dislike the film. I actually quite enjoyed the build-up, I just wish there was more to the story in the form of a payoff.
I’m a big fan of The Blair Witch project, and I guess part of the problem could be that I was expecting something similar in nature. Although the use of a handheld camera is implemented here, this is definitely not a found footage movie. I wasn’t expecting it to be, but from the first moments of the film, one could assume that it was, which is why it’s a little shocking when the handheld camera work stops, and the traditional camera work begins. Perhaps if you have the ability to keep your expectations in check, and not go into the film wanting for an experience comparable to TBWP, or even Altered, you’ll be able to enjoy Lovely Molly for what it is. I may go back and give it a second chance, but I’m not expecting my opinion to be changed drastically.