Thursday, March 21, 2013

Lovely Molly (2012)

**This review contains spoilers**

After their wedding, Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and Tim (Johnny Lewis) move into the childhood home of Molly’s deceased parents. Molly is a recovering heroin addict, and Tim is a busy truck driver, so Molly is forced to spend a lot of time alone in the house. One night, Molly and Tim suspect the break-in of an unknown intruder, but the responding police officer is unable to find any signs of forced entry.

Molly slowly succumbs to boredom and anxiety during Tim’s lengthy stints on the road. And on the night of her birthday, Molly smokes a joint from her sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden). One taste of marijuana triggers Molly’s cravings for heroin, and soon enough, Molly dips into her secret stash of heroin concealed inside a teddy bear. During Tim’s absence, Molly experiences a series of bizarre paranormal intrusions, but nobody believes Molly’s far-fetched stories.

Molly recalls painful memories from her childhood, and she slowly sinks into a deeper hole, while developing an unusual obsession for the neighbors next door. Tim suggests committing Molly to the local mental hospital again, but Hannah begs for more time. To Tim, Molly is just a delusional heroin addict, but Molly is willing to do anything to convince Tim, Hannah, and anyone else, who doubts her beliefs of a ghostly presence.    

Gretchen Lodge delivers the best performance here. At first, Molly is a boring character, but Lodge shows off her true talents, as Molly descends into madness. Molly devolves into a broken woman, and an angry drug addict. Lodge really nailed the devious side of Molly’s personality, and Lodge continues to excel throughout this film, as Molly transforms into a darker character. The rest of the cast is solid, but Hannah is a terrible person (you give your sister, who’s a recovering heroin addict marijuana? Seriously???)   

Remember Eduardo Sanchez? He’s one of the guys, who co-directed The Blair Witch Project. To be honest, I haven’t followed his post-Blair Witch career, because I hated The Blair Witch Project. Sanchez directed a few straight-to-video horror flicks. Supposedly, he’s returning for The Blair Witch Project 3, and he’s one of the directors for S-V/H/S (the sequel to V/H/S). Honestly, after browsing his resume, nothing jumped out at me, and I really don’t have the urge to watch any of his films.

Anyway, Lovely Molly IS Eduardo Sanchez’s film. He’s the director, Sanchez came up with the story, he co-wrote the screenplay, and he edited this film. I’ll start with the directing. Sanchez delivers one good jump scare at the beginning, but that’s not enough. Lovely Molly is horribly boring most of the time, and Sanchez’s 50/50 style of real-time camerawork, and POV found-footage drove me nuts. As Molly investigates the strange noises at night, she uses a handheld video camera to record everything. Yeah, Molly’s POV is just the typical shaky cam found-footage bullshit style. Molly’s “HE’S HERE! HE’S HERE!” routine wasn’t spooky, and I couldn’t feel the tension or suspense. Sorry, but the mundane “things that go bump in the night” approach and tired shaky came effects aren’t enough, if you’re trying to stir up some real jump scares.

The story really, really, really pissed me off. So Molly is experiencing some supernatural disturbances at home. BUT at the same time, she’s a hardcore heroin addict, so there’s a good chance Molly is just hallucinating, and/or losing her mind. Well, as the story develops, it’s clear Molly is telling the truth. Okay, now what? Should we focus on the paranormal intrusions?  Nah, let’s sidetrack and confuse the audience with a bunch of sub-plots. Molly’s having intense sexual cravings, but wait, we can’t forget about her problems with heroin. Then, let’s throw in dueling infidelity storylines: one involving Tim and the woman next door, and Molly seducing a priest. And we can’t forget about Molly’s traumatic childhood, and Hannah’s decision to murder someone in the family as a child. Oh, and for some reason, Molly needs to take a dead dear from the woods, keep it in the basement, and repeatedly stab the carcass on a daily basis to let out aggression? Okay then. 

Usually, I’m not one to complain about nudity, and Gretchen Lodge is an attractive woman, but most of the nudity and sexual situations were so unnecessary. For starters, Sanchez constantly shows this one shot of Molly sitting in a room completely nude. With the exception of one time, Sanchez doesn’t show anything, but still, why is Molly naked in this one room all the time? There’s an unusual and awkward scene, where Molly is raped by an unknown entity at work. Molly’s boss shows her the footage from the security cameras. Molly is devastated at first, but then she laughs, and throws a tirade against her boss (Molly’s “I need help… NO. LEAVE ME ALONE. I HATE YOU!” tirades are a reoccurring trend throughout this film)?

Molly wants revenge for Tim‘s infidelity, and she sees an easy target in the priest. One night, Molly comes out to the front porch, while it’s raining, and of course she’s naked. The priest walks up to her with this mesmerized look on his face, and….well, you can probably guess what happens next. Towards the very end, Molly is naked, and she walks up to this unknown (and presumably evil) figure at night for a hug? Again, is there a reason why she’s naked in the freezing cold at night?

Others might’ve enjoyed the slow burn technique, but Sanchez’s steady and methodical pacing just irritated me. If you’re going the route of a slow build, while carefully revealing crucial plot points along the way, you need to give the audience a satisfying payoff at the end, or in this case, payoffs. I HONESTLY don’t understand the reasons behind Molly murdering the priest, and the cliffhanger with Hannah brought a facepalm out of me. Sorry, but if I’m investing one hour and thirty-nine minutes into this film, I need to see an ending with a real bang, or a genuine shock. Random murders (I still can’t get over the priest. His death made no sense at all.), and Molly walking out into the night naked doesn’t cut it for me, not at all. 

I wanted to like Lovely Molly, but it’s a very boring film. Was Sanchez trying to cover-up a muddled and shitty story with an overload of nudity and sex (more nudity than sex)? The story is an undecipherable mess, and I guess Sanchez tried to compensate with a plethora of nude shots featuring Lodge. It’s a real shame, because the cast gives a strong effort here (especially Gretchen Lodge). Lovely Molly had a lot of potential, but the slow grind to the end is torturous, and every revelation is a MAJOR disappointment.   

Final Rating: 2/10

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