Eduardo Sánchez’s “The Blair Witch Project” broke new ground in horror, and its influence has since redefined the entire genre. Found Footage movies like “Paranormal Activity,” “REC,” “Cloverfield” and “V/H/S” have all benefited from the sub-genre Sánchez helped create.
Sánchez’s latest film, “Lovely Molly,” tells the story of Newlyweds Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and Tim (Johnny Lewis), who move into Molly’s deceased father’s house in the countryside.
An ex-drug addict with a dark, troubled past, Molly has kicked the habit and has committed herself to a new life with her husband, finally finding peace and happiness.
Unexplained disturbances in the night leave the couple uneasy, and when her husband goes away for business, Molly is left in a creaky old house that holds painful secrets and forgotten truths. She begins to see things, hear things in the middle of the night – and repressed memories of her traumatic past come back to haunt her.
This movie is fucking terrifying. “Lovely Molly” is unsettling – an immersive, intimate look at a woman’s disintegration at the hands of unrelenting evil. It’s a slow burn – a quiet, raw film that feels more like Polanski’s “Repulsion” or Friedkin’s “The Exorcist than found footage fodder like “The Devil Inside.” While it uses found footage elements, as Molly attempts to record the disturbances in the house, the film doesn’t rely on gimmicks and cheap jump scares.
It’s the unseen that is so effective – as is the case with every great horror film. There are more questions than answers, and the viewer is left wondering if the disturbances Molly is experiencing are a result of her troubled past and renewed drug use or if there truly is a demonic evil possessing her.
A battle rages inside Molly for control of her newfound sobriety, her life and her very soul. Gretchen Lodge is simply phenomenal in this film – her intensity as an ex-addict succumbing to inner demons (and malicious spirits alike) makes for a complex, terrifying character.
Overall, this was one of my favorite films at SXSW this year – a pleasant surprise that left me deeply disturbed. Throughout the rest of the festival, I found myself thinking of “Lovely Molly” – it was always in the back of my mind, a lingering, haunting cinematic experience that should be seen alone in the dark…