21 June 2012

EIFF 2012: Lovely Molly


Eduardo Sanchez has much to live up to - his 1999 feature The Blair Witch Project was perhaps the most terrifying film of the 1990s, as well as one of the most hyped. After several direct to video features, the director returns with Lovely Molly, but unfortunately 'lovely' is quite the exaggeration.

Young newlyweds, Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and Tim (Johnny Lewis), move into Molly's parents abandoned countryside home. However, it seems that her deceased father is still head of the household.

What follows is somewhat generic fare with occasional flashes of originality and interest. The handheld camera style of The Blair Witch Project spawned hundreds of imitators within the genre, which certainly contributed to lessoning its impact. Therefore it feels tired and rather played out here - slowly walking with a night vision camera through a darkened room is an easy way to amp up tension and get scares - it is also rather uninspired. This style feels forced in Lovely Molly, with the character having no real reason to actually use the video camera.

Other clichés include the theme of male victimization of young women and the loss of childhood innocence, both seen recently in Gustavo Hernández's La casa muda (The Silent House). Like many similar films in the genre, Lovely Molly features traditional folk songs twisted to build tension and create horror. This may not be the most original move, but it does help contribute to the film's tension at various points.

Lovely Molly does show some originality in its character development. Watching Molly, a former addict, fall back into drugs as a response to the horror the befalls her, does create an interesting alternative from the traditional female in horror role. Molly's dependency on drugs also spurs the question: is the torment she receives real or simply a product of her damaged mindset?

There are also several interesting occult references touched upon that prove to be somewhat chilling, however, these are poorly utilized. One sequence sees Molly discover, 'cult like' carvings outside the house and another sees a disturbing man-cross-horse figure present. Both these scenes provide a welcome dose of terror to Lovely Molly, but these elements are not nearly emphasised enough.

Gretchen Lodge's performance as Molly allows her to shine at certain moments, but the character simply becomes too outlandish to remain credible. Alexandra Holden, however, does prove a welcome addition to the cast, in her convincing turn as Molly's concerned sister.

Unfortunately, Lovely Molly does not live up to Sanchez's debut, proving to be rather tired and forgettable, wasting several potentially chilling concepts. Occasional well handled moments of tension provide some interest, but these are not frequent nor original enough.

Andrew McArthur

Stars: Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden
Director: Eduardo Sánchez
Rating: 15 (UK)
Release: 29th June 2012 (UK)

LOVELY MOLLY - Official UK trailer - In Cinemas 29 June 2012 Published via LongTail.tv

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