Lovely Molly (2012) Movie Review

Reviewed by Jesse Miller,

Lovely Molly is a psychological horror full of shadows and noises and supposed supernatural activity and yet, it is quite the slow burning film, opting to inject some long, slow passages into this rather peculiar tale – and does it work?

Writer / Director Eduardo Sanchez is no stranger to psychological horror – his first foray into it was The Blair Witch Project – and here, he showcases some of the same ideas and ingenious tricks that made that film so effective and, in the end, haunting.

With Lovely Molly, he presents to us the set up of the story and then we’re pretty much on our own, as we watch Molly wander the house by herself, learning bits and pieces of the back-story of the plot in softly spoken scenes of dialogue that make no sense at the time they’re delivered.

The film is a puzzle and Sanchez leaves breadcrumbs for us to follow through the horror – but as welcoming as this all is, I’m not quite sure it works in the film’s favor.

So, the film’s main mystery is easy enough to sort out on your own and I personally came to the correct conclusion long before it started to explicitly make it’s point but that’s half the journey taken, there’s a wealth of information being thrown about the film but it’s all so slightly incoherent and definitely convoluted and I found myself with more questions than answers when the film cut to black.

Normally, I’d be the last person to complain when a film chooses to let the audience connect the dots but there’s letting the audience connect the dots and then there’s not even throwing the audience a bone to put A) and B) together in the first place and unfortunately, Lovely Molly has too many questions floating about that make the experience difficult to digest.

Now, because so much is left unexplained, it creates an uneasy experience – and yes, one with more than a few haunting scenes (all brilliantly shot, by the way) but outside of the main mystery I connected together, I had to go read other film’s buffs thoughts to get a grasp of just what a few key scenes meant – and it wasn’t only until I read interviews with Sanchez and other viewer’s thoughts that I came to understand a few of the other plot points of the story a little better.

Even after digesting my thoughts on the film, I’m still somewhat conflicted about it, with one half of me thinking a film should better illustrate it’s points for the audience and the other half thinking it’s an engrossing piece of psychological horror that does a whole lot right but takes a few stumbles.

One other stumble is that the film drags it’s heels – I mean, I love my slow burning horrors but this just felt like it was stretching this thin premise just a little too far and there were often slow and drawn out passages that could’ve benefited from being trimmed down and made a little tighter.

Other than that, Eduardo Sanchez knows how to inject suspense and horror into his surroundings, coming up with a handful of haunting imagery, and there’s an intriguing, horrific tale beneath the muddling questions raised here that works more often than it, he could’ve benefited from editing a few key pieces more carefully and could’ve made the film more coherent in places.

My hat goes off to the solid cast, particularly Gretchen Lodge, who is quite spectacular here in her portrayal as the tormented Molly – it’s somewhat of a brave performance, from her several nude scenes to just portraying the complexity of that character – I think she did a terrific job here.

I get the feeling Lovely Molly could use a second viewing and perhaps I will revisit it down the road just to see if there are clues or lines of dialogue I missed along the journey.

Lovely Molly is certainly not a bad film by any means – Sanchez is a fine Writer / Director and crafts a particularly moody and intriguing tale, filled with enough subtle frights that may just creep up on you in your dreams – but it certainly feels overlong and could’ve used a tweak to trim it down in places.

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