Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Facing Terror with Lovely Molly: A Movie Review

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Director: Eduardo Sánchez.

Writers: Jamie Nash and Eduardo Sánchez.

Cast: Alexandra Holden, Johnny Lewis, Gretchen Lodge, Ken Arnold, and Lauren Lakis.

Lovely Molly is a film from director Eduardo Sánchez. Sánchez might be best known for his work on the Blair Witch Project (1999). In his latest, he sticks with horror and perhaps Sánchez further perfects his art with Lovely Molly. After all, this is a truly unsettling picture with actress Gretchen Lodge playing an often tormented Molly. This film's many horrifying scenes might make viewers question the source of Molly's increasingly violent actions. This reviewer believes the events are caused by three elements: a supernatural site (haunted house), abuse and possession.

These three elements come together like a whirlwind of terror in the film's story. That terror comes from the writing team of Jamie Nash and Sánchez. These two have written a horrifying tale, which puts Molly up against a demonic force. In the film, Molly becomes increasingly violent as she sees her father in every shadow. She turns to drugs to calm her nerves, but this coping strategy makes things worse. She becomes increasingly erratic until neighbour's begin to turn up missing and her husband becomes her bloody punching bag. This is a difficult film to watch with Molly spiralling further and further out of control.

That erratic behaviour might have come from something in the house. Videos on the Lovely Molly website allude to others becoming violent in this Maryland home. A paranormal investigator sees this family become more and more hostile towards each other. He also senses a force within the home. Other investigators would meet a violent death. As well, early shots from the film show a hidden room with a strange symbol on a door. This could be reference to folklore, or pagan rituals. Something has been built into the structure of this pre-1800s era home and that something is not revealed in the film. Film fans will have to guess at the mysteries housed within.

Molly's behaviours may also be provoked by a history of abuse. The film often refers to possible abuse in the film. Molly is overly sexualized as seen in one conversation with a local pastor (Field Blauvelt). She lures him in for a sexual tryst. Oversexualization is often a symptom of sexual abuse. She also seems to blame her father for something of which she initially has trouble remembering. Memory loss is another symptom of trauma. The evidence points to Molly experiencing some sort of abuse, sexual or otherwise, at the hands of her father.

Molly also seems driven to do harm to others. It would seem that a supernatural force is propelling her onwards to self-destruction and murder. That force is briefly seen in one of the last shots. A horse headed man beckons her into his arms. Look closely late in the film to see this figure. As well, Molly states "I am not in control." So, it would seem that something unseen is partially manipulating her to do harm to herself and others. But why?

These questions and elements create for a mostly enjoyable time. This is difficult material here and Sánchez knows how to amplify the tension. Music is almost absent in this film. However, the soundtrack creates disturbing sounds such as a tingy ringing, which might leave some viewer with tinitus. The acting is especially good. Lodge goes all the way to give her character a maddened look. In other scenes, she has to show vulnerability and later violence. This actress covers it all in this film's 100 minute runtime. Overall, this film deals with difficult themes of abuse and there are only a few light moments in this piece. You will find it difficult to catch your breath. These film elements, when combined, create for a very affective film.

Lovely Molly is a must see for horror fans. This film is a difficult watch because of the violence, difficult themes and the protagonist's ever downwards spiral. Truly tragic, Lovely Molly will haunt you long after the Dublin House is no longer in frame. And fans of the film should check out the Lovely Molly website, which tries to fill in the gaps left by the film's open-ended conclusion.

Overall: 8 out of 10 (squirm inducing, a difficult watch, violent, tragic, mysterious, tense moments, unexpected twists and turns).

*on DVD Aug. 28th.

Visit the Lovely Molly website and find out more about the film under the "Descent" tabe:

The Lovely Molly Official Website

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