out of Five
Running time: 99
Lovely Molly has its fair share of creepy moments and features strong performances from Gretchen Lodge and Alexandra Holden, but the script lacks focus, the to-camera element doesn’t add anything new and the film ultimately fails to provide any scares, beyond the odd soundtrack-assisted jump.
What's it all about?
Written and directed by Eduardo Sanchez (co-writer and co-director of The Blair Witch Project), Lovely Molly is set in present-day Maryland and stars Gretchen Lodge as Molly, a young woman who moves into her creaky old family home with her new husband Tim (Johnny Lewis) after their wedding. While Tim is away at work, Molly begins to experience spooky goings-on in the house, including loud noises in the basement and the sound of a girl crying, so she attempts to capture the evidence using a video camera.
However, as her experiences get worse, ex-addict Molly turns to heroin for support and she withdraws further and further into herself, causing Tim to seek help from her sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) and a local doctor (Ken Arnold). But is Molly actually possessed or is something else going on?
Gretchen Lodge delivers an impressive performance as Molly, although we barely have time to get to know her before she starts acting weirdly, so it's hard to engage with her on an emotional level. Alexandra Holden is equally good as her concerned sister and there's decent support from Johnny Lewis as Tim, even if he's not the most sympathetic of new husbands.
To be fair, Sanchez does deliver a couple of effectively creepy moments, but the pacing flags considerably in the middle section and the to-camera element adds nothing new to the film; worse, it provides the sort of evidence that would surely cause both Tim and Hannah to have Molly immediately removed from the house.
On top of that, the frustrating plot lacks focus and opts for a whole mess of backstory problems for Molly, unable to decide which is worse so chucking them all in and hoping for the best: indeed, between child abuse, recent bereavement, heroin addiction and mental illness, poor old Molly doesn't really stand a chance. In addition, the exact nature of Molly's aggressor seems inconsistent (there are various elements that don't really add up), while the film is also guilty of utilising cheap shocks accompanied by an overblown score.
Despite the occasional creepy moment and a strong performance from Gretchen Lodge, there isn't really enough in Lovely Molly to get excited about, thanks to an underdeveloped script and a lack of any genuine scares.