Review: LOVELY MOLLY (2011)

Good golly.

 

Directed by: Eduardo Sanchez

Stars: Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, and Alexandra Holden

MPAA Rating: R

 

 

 Many of the best horror stories will focus just as much time on the mental state of the characters involved as they do on the horrific events that surround them. It’s important to see how these characters are affected. It helps us identify with them and understand them better. As a result, when they are put in harm’s way, we are more afraid for them. LOVELY MOLLY is the latest film to take a good, long, hard look at the victim in the middle of a terrifying ordeal. But does it succeed?

The Molly at the center of LOVELY MOLLY has just moved back into her childhood home with her new husband, Tim. While he is away for work as a truck driver, Molly begins to experience some bizarre and frightening phenomena that threatens to break her already fragile psyche. Is something supernatural haunting Molly? Or is Molly psychologically haunted by a tragic past filled with sexual and drug abuse?

LOVELY MOLLY is an extremely dour and depressing experience. It tackles some difficult material, and it doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of it. There are unpredictable story and character arcs in the film that keep it fresh, challenging, and engrossing. It’s a tense and disturbing film with several genuinely upsetting moments in it.

Much of the movie’s success is due to the truly exceptional acting from everyone involved. Gretchen Lodge’s performance as Molly is a revelation. She has to play several different levels of intensity and sanity, and they all work beautifully. Johnny Lewis and Alexandra Holden complement her perfectly as her equally concerned and frightened husband and sister.

The script from Eduardo Sanchez and Jamie Nash is very well-written. It’s a delicate balancing act between what is real and what is not, and the conclusion was legitimately surprising. Sanchez’s direction is assured. He shows just enough to let the audience’s imagination fill in the harsher details, but doesn’t shy away from unsettling imagery in certain key scenes.

LOVELY MOLLY is an unexpected film. It sets up a familiar scenario, but tackles it with convincing, relatable characters and a fresh approach. It never plays it safe, and never panders to cliché or over-the-top violence and gore. It’s a ponderous film that seeks to scare you with it’s intentions and ideas, and it is largely successful in it’s aim.

LOVELY MOLLY is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. It comes highly recommended by this critic.

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