LOVELY MOLLY ****
It’s been over a decade since director and writer Eduardo Sanchez brought a new dimension to the horror genre in his, newly coined, “found footage” paranormal phenomena, The Blair Witch Project.
Now, thirteen years later and with only one other sci-fi horror flick under his belt (Altered, 2006), Sanchez is back to deliver more supernatural suspense in this years psychological horror, Lovely Molly.
Molly (Gretchen Lodge) takes up residence in her long-abandoned former family home with her new husband Tim (Johnny Lewis). But less than three months settled into their new home havoc emerges for the newlyweds as Molly feels she is being terrorized by a dark and malevolent presence in the house; someone in her past which should no longer be present.
The opening scene features a close-up of a distressed Molly filming herself with a camcorder, the screen date and time stamped. We then see a montage of previous camera film from Molly and Tim’s wedding. But Sanchez has more in his repertoire than just found footage; the film soon switches to the conventional film form, with the camcorder effectively being used intermittently to track Molly’s whereabouts and discoveries.
The musical score by Tortoise sets it apart from the eerie paranormal experience as a constant blend of loud, boisterous and sometimes incoherent noise replaces patient, nail-biting silence and regular crescendos. Even the volume of the doors when they creak is intrusive on the senses. Sanchez’ use of the heightened level of sound to highlight the raucous nature of the spirit successfully creates raw fear rather than suspense, an interesting and appreciated approach in delivering a familiar plot.
What begins as a traditional bump in the night story with opening doors, sounding alarms and faint distant voices, turns more and more ominous. With Tim working away, Molly is left to confront her tormentor who follows her beyond the reaches of the house, shown in a memorable CCTV footage scene of her at work. Molly is desperate to prove her sanity, but as her psychological past is revealed, her drug use resurfaces and the truth about her sister Hannah's (Alexandra Holden) dark deed is uncovered, those that are close to her- and the audience- can never really be convinced.
So, is this a paranormal plot of demonic possession, a story of the evil that can be driven from the effects of addiction, or indeed a tragic tale of a woman losing her mind? True to form, Sanchez opens a can of worms and refuses to close it, delivering an ambiguous and indefinite ending. As the conclusion sees Molly walking slowly into the woods and her sister in the house being lured to the closet by the aura, the uncertain audience are left asking, “What happens next?”