Jen's out of town for the night so I've got the house to myself. What better way to spend a night alone than to turn off all the lights and rent the latest fright flick from one of the directors of The Blair Witch Project? There's something about watching horror films alone in the dark that's just so awesome, at least when it comes to movies like this one, that are best watched under such conditions. Some horror movies are better with friends and booze, but for creaky floorboard ghost stories and possession fare like this one, lights out, volume up, on the couch alone is the way to go. If only I had the power to summon up a nice 2 hour lightning rainstorm, then we'd really be talking.
But I digress. That was my long winded roundabout way of saying that I rented Lovely Molly tonight, and that I'm about to post my thoughts on it. So let's go ahead and do that.
Lovely Molly was written and directed by Eduardo Sanchez, who back in 1999 co-wrote and co-directed a little film called The Blair Witch Project, the film that launched a thousand and one shitty ass found footage atrocities. Yes, I'm aware Blair Witch wasn't the first of its kind, but it was the one that made the whole found footage thing mega popular, so don't even try to argue with me there, Cannibal Holocaust fanboys of the world.
Formerly titled The Possession but retitled to avoid confusion with the other film with the same title that also just came out, Lovely Molly tells the story of a lovely girl named Molly (duh!) and her husband Tim, who have just recently gotten married and moved into the home that Molly lived in as a child. Yea, you know where this is going already. Turns out Molly has some seriously dark shit buried in her past, and it all starts coming back, as a terrifying force begins to take over and threatens to destroy the newlyweds' lives. Or life. Since you become one when you get married and all. I know this because I just recently got married.
Lovely Molly starts off in typical old creepy ass remote house with a girl whose husband can't seem to stay home and keep her safe fashion, with Molly spending a whole lot of time alone in the house, at night. The first half hour or so of the movie pretty much focuses on Molly's nights alone, and Sanchez creates a genuinely creepy atmosphere that I found myself quite enjoying. You can actually feel the fear that Molly is experiencing, even before anything really creepy starts to happen, and the film was looking like it was going to have that same slow burn atmospheric sounds in the distance vibe that made Blair Witch so damn effective and scary. There I was, getting into it.
Unfortunately, once the whole possession angle comes into play, and Molly becomes the antagonist, is about where I started to lose interest in lovely little Molly and her demonic plight. I'm honestly way past the point where I find any sort of modern day demonic possession movie interesting, and with the genre absolutely flooded with such movies in the past couple years, Lovely Molly unfortunately doesn't do much to be different or separate itself from the pack. Ultimately, it's just another generic and cliched possession flick, though there are attempts to add an extra layer of depth by raising the question of whether Molly is really possessed and really experiencing paranormal activity, or if she's just a crazy Heroin addict loony with serious daddy issues (the awful Silent House remake went down similar territory). It's kinda Paranormal Activity meets Intervention, in that sense. Everyone who watches the film will have their own theory on the matter, but it really doesn't even matter at the end of the day. Whether she's truly possessed or just plain batshit crazy is kind of a moot point, again more an attempt to add additional layers to mask the typical possession story at the core, than anything else. You aint fooling me, Eduardo.
There are heavy doses of Blair Witch wrapped inside of Lovely Molly, which sorta makes ya wonder if Sanchez is trying to recapture former glories (he hasn't done much of note since his debut in '99) or if he's just trying to give Blair Witch fans little winks and nods to put a smile on their faces. There are a few scenes of Molly wandering around in the woods, which we see through the lens of her hand held camera, and she even has a penchant for creepily staring at the corner of a room, ala the super scary ending of Blair Witch (only this time, it's a chick. And she's nude). Hell, the film even begins with Molly crying into a camera that she's holding, a reference to an oft parodied and highly iconic scene from Blair Witch. So yea, there's that.
Now in regards to the whole found footage thing, Lovely Molly isn't a found footage film, per se. There are many scenes presented in the found footage style, with the excuse being that Molly wants to document her paranormal encounters so that people will believe her, but the majority of the film is told in typical movie fashion. Not sure why the found footage thing was needed at all, but hey, I guess that's just the popular thing nowadays. Jesus, when is it not gonna be anymore?
The bottom line is that Lovely Molly is too predictable to be scary and far too typical and unoriginal to really make any kind of mark or lasting impression. It's certainly not the worst film of its kind to come out this year, but that's really not saying too much. Oddly enough, the film comes off more like the work of a guy who's trying to make a film that's like the films Blair Witch spawned, than it does a movie made by the guy who pioneered that whole sub-genre of horror. I guess you could say it's expecting too much of Sanchez to expect every movie he makes to be as awesome and as groundbreaking as Blair Witch though, which is unfortunately the curse that comes along with debuting with such a massive and successful hit. But regardless of what he did in the past, Lovely Molly is unimpressive on pretty much all levels, the kind of movie you forget about as soon as the credits end. Least I did.
Now that said, I do want to end this on a positive note. If there's one thing about Lovely Molly that I will not forget, it's Molly herself, played by newcomer Gretchen Lodge. This was Lodge's first film appearance and she absolutely knocks her performance out of the park, which is a good thing considering the camera is mostly focused on her throughout. Whether she's vulnerable and sweet, like in the beginning of the film, or drugged out, demonic and nasty as can be, in the latter portions, Lodge is always solid and always captivating to watch, as she degenerates into insanity. It doesn't hurt that she's fully nude a lot of the time. But in all seriousness I've gotta give her serious kudos for making such a strong acting debut. Also props to Sanchez for choosing a new unknown first time actress, which is always a good thing as far as I'm concerned when it comes to horror movies. Just like with the kids in Blair Witch, it's a lot easier to buy into characters when you've never seen the actors before. At least it is to me.
So hey, at least I came away from the film with something, that being an appreciation for a new up and coming actress. So if that counts as $3.99 well spent, then my $3.99 was well spent tonight!