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"Lovely Molly" Lingers With Strong Lead Performance and Encompassing Sense of Dread Review

Director Eduardo Sanchez’s Lovely Molly deserved a less lukewarm reception, but alas, with the film now dropping on DVD and Blu-ray, we are left to wonder how the better fare slips through movie-goer fingers while repetitive, trashy horror features are shepherded in even as they hit all the familiar notes, poorly at that. Sanchez, most famous for masterminding The Blair Witch Project, presents a film that marries an effective, compelling psychological thriller/drama to an equally effective haunted house feature and attempts to sprinkle some unnecessary found footage asides.

The result is impressive if derivative, a pervasive sense of unease hanging over the film, which works well as a whole, from the cinematography to sound design to an impressive lead performance from Gretchen Lodge as the unfortunate Molly. Molly’s fate is seemingly set in stone from the minute she moves into her parent’s old house with sweetheart husband Tim (Johnny Lewis). Hints of a tragic childhood abound and Molly’s psyche cracks under a constant assault that may or may not be supernatural. A quick trip to IMDB and a look at the alternate title may illustrate what folks in the industry would call a dead give-away. Still, the balance between Molly’s mind playing tricks and a demonic entity having his way with her is skillfully maintained, though the extras on this Blu-ray help dismantle the elusiveness of the film, aided by a rather chilling ending.

The video/audio presentation leaves little to complain, since most off-putting sounds are part of the director’s visions, including a disturbing buzzing sound that is peppered throughout the picture. Video doesn’t mask Lovely Molly’s humble origins, nor does it impair the impressive cinematography and production design on display.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

A surprising collection of extras is either a blessing or a curse, depending which side of the seesaw you land on. Aside from the commentary with director Sanchez and co-writer Jamie Nash, which offers the usual production trivia, there’s one thing to keep in mind while diving in – if you have any questions regarding the film, as most viewers are bound with so much left deliberately ambiguous, these extras will fill in the blanks rather inelegantly. Three short featurettes (each under ten minutes) dwell into possible explanations for Molly’s, ahem, strange behavior. Each is presented in faux TV-show style, a deadly serious baritone intoning facts while cheesy recreations play out. It never passes muster, feeling too on-the-nose, casting too much light on uncertainties the film takes serious liberties to avoid explaining. A final featurette involves the production inviting paranormal experts to examine the house where the film is being shot. Whether you buy their findings or not, after South Park joyfully skewered these types of show, it is difficult to take the entire hubbub seriously. The film’s trailer and several studio-offering trailers are also included.

"Lovely Molly" is on sale August 28, 2012 and is rated R. Drama, Horror. Directed by Eduardo Sanchez. Written by Eduardo Sánchez, Jamie Nash. Starring Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden, Gretchen Lodge, Field Blauvelt.

Sep
02
2012
Mark Zhuravsky • Staff Writer

I'm a prolific blogger, writer and editor who loves film.

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