One-hit wonder horror director Eduardo Sánchez returns to the genre after years of fiddling with side projects and riding off of the hype of his co-directing effort The Blair Witch Project. His latest film Lovely Molly is only further proof that he got lucky with Blair Witch and that maybe he should stop making movies altogether. Lovely Molly is a lousy horror film that tries to mix found-footage and traditional filmmaking, but only results in two hours of unsatisfactory character work and very little real horror.
Molly (Gretchen Lodge) is starting a new life at her deceased father’s cabin. She and her newlywed husband Tim (Johnny Lewis) decide to move in and settle down. Tim is a truck driver, so he spends most of his time away, which leaves Molly all alone in her father’s former residence. There’s a haunted past that slowly creeps forward as Molly unwinds and starts to see and hear things. She warns Tim and her sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden), but no one seems to care or believe her.
Things reach a breaking point as Molly’s physical appearance starts to deteriorate and her mental instability starts to show and eventually cause harm to herself and to those around her. What’s eating away at Molly and why is she suddenly acting so weird around her father’s cabin? Director Eduardo Sánchez tries to answer those questions in a slow-burn fashion that only weakens the eventual delivery down to a non-existent ending.
The direction of the film almost seems absent, as Molly spends several lengthy scenes just staring at the wall or softly mumbling something to herself at the dinner table. It’s almost like Sánchez actually believes that he’s capturing true horror, but he’s really just filming an actress attempting to read her lines with a frightening facial expression or an uneasy voice. It almost reaches the point of becoming a joke, because actress Gretchen Lodge is given absolutely nothing to do besides walk around the house naked.
She literally spends the majority of the film covered in dirt, wandering aimlessly around the house or the grounds in nothing but her birthday suit. That’s fine if it actually adhered to the story in some manner, but it doesn’t. Molly is a troubled soul, but the reasons as to why are briefly revealed in found-footage flashbacks and short conversations between her and her sister.
The whole film feels like it’s leading towards some sort of shocking ending, similar to Sánchez’ The Blair Witch Project, but there really aren’t any surprises or twists.
Lovely Molly isn’t terrorizing enough or interesting enough to be considered an actual horror movie. It’s just a piss-poor excuse of a film that chooses to do nothing with its running time. I cannot see how anyone would enjoy the film on any level, because of its lack of substance and reason for even existing as a film. Director Eduardo Sánchez has clearly lost whatever “magic” he had when he filmed The Blair Witch Project and I hope he stays away from a camera in the near future.
Lovely Molly was shot on Red One cameras, so sharp and crisp picture is a given. The 1080p transfer remains strong and consistent throughout, only dropping the ball whenever the found-footage stuff comes onto the screen with its blurry and non-video qualities. Image Entertainment has done a nice job cleaning the film up and making it look like it had a bigger budget than it probably had.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track takes over whenever the dialogue becomes too unbearably slow and uninteresting. There’s a lot of surrounding environmental noises that might take you by surprise from the back channels. Things like the security system going off or simple commotion throughout the house will keep you engaged with the film from an audio standpoint.
Lovely Molly comes with the following bonus material:
- Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Eduardo Sánchez and Co-Writer Jamie Nash
- 4 Featurettes (HD): A series of mock documentaries presented as behind-the-scenes featurettes.
- Theatrical Trailer (HD)
Director Eduardo Sánchez clearly blew his creative load when he co-directed the somewhat over-rated The Blair Witch Project back in 1999. Since then he hasn’t been involved in much of anything important, Lovely Molly included. It’s the exact kind of film that shouldn’t be qualified as horror, because it lacks true tension and actual scares. It spends too much of its time trying to build up a surprise conclusion, but what you’re left with is everything but.
Lovely Molly is a horrible film that has absolutely no replay value. The Blu-Ray might help make the initial watch a little easier on the eyes and ears, but you’ll never have the urge to re-visit the film, mostly due to Sánchez’ inability to tell such a basic story with actual horror elements and themes that don’t involve typical found-footage jumps and filming shortcuts.
This review is based on a copy of the Blu-Ray that we received for reviewing purposes.