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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

LOVELY MOLLY -- DVD review by porfle

"Scary" means different things to different horror fans these days.  For some, a movie is scary if it features lots of graphic gore and excruciating torture scenes that are hard to endure.  For others, "scary" is still about establishing an atmosphere and mood that makes the viewer feel as though they'd just stumbled into a waking nightmare, in which waiting in dread for a door to creak open can be more unsettling than a graphic evisceration.  For me, "The Blair Witch Project" had that quality in spades, and if you liked it too, then chances are LOVELY MOLLY (2011) will give you a serious case of the creeps.

Not surprisingly, Eduardo Sánchez served as director and writer on both films, and while MOLLY isn't your standard "found footage" novelty, it's shot mostly documentary-style and we see much of what goes on through the lens of Molly's camcorder.  This is due to her desire to document some of the apparently supernatural things that have happened to her ever since she and her new husband Tim (Johnny Lewis) moved into the centuries-old house where Molly grew up with her older sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) and their deranged, abusive father.  And whatever occurred on the night Hannah and Molly's father was found dead seems to be on the verge of replaying itself.

For much of the story we question whether the paranormal events in the house are real or simply a figment of the increasingly disturbed Molly's imagination.  Either way, anyone who's ever spent the night alone in a spooky old house (truck-driver Tim is often gone for days at a time) will identify with what she's feeling when the unexplainable begins to manifest itself in terrifying ways. 

And anyone who's ever watched a loved one go slowly bonkers will know how Tim and Hannah feel as they observe Molly's behavior become more and more irrational, as though she has been possessed by some evil outside force that will eventually make her dangerous to be around. 

It's Molly's descent into madness--or possession--that becomes the scariest aspect of the movie.  In her film debut, Gretchen Lodge's performance in the title role is outstanding and we're never quite sure what Molly's going to do next, even directing her bursts of violence toward Tim in some of the film's most harrowing scenes. 

The hapless Pastor Bobby (Field Blauvelt), who married the two in happier times, fares no better when his attempts to help Molly are turned back on him in perverse ways.  Molly's stalking of an unsuspecting neighbor woman and her children elevates the story's creep factor considerably as well.  So, while we worry for her, we also fear what she herself will do next as something evil seems to be working through her. 

Sánchez knows how to sustain a steady buildup of fear and suspense in a story like this while introducing little elements along the way that keep us off-balance.  It's all done with more subtlety than most current horror films, playing up the ghostly supernatural angle with the intent of evoking goose pimples rather than jump-scare jitters or nausea. 

However, there are a couple of key scenes in which the violence is both shocking and utterly disheartening--almost in an EDEN LAKE sort of way--and, yes, a jump-scare or two that may have you launching your popcorn at the ceiling.

The DVD from Image Entertainment is in 1.78:1 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and English subtitles.  Besides a trailer, extras include a commentary track with director Sánchez and co-scripter Jamie Nash and a series of four featurettes which, in the style of "The Curse of the Blair Witch", explore aspects of the film's story as though it had actually occurred.

LOVELY MOLLY is the kind of horror movie during which you'll either be sitting there thinking "When is something scary going to happen?" or shivering in fear at the scary things that are happening.  While certainly no THE EXORCIST, it should be enough to give you a hefty sense of unease--especially if you happen to be watching it alone in a spooky old house at night. 

Buy it at

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