Underrated Gems: Lovely Molly (2011)

Hello, you! Yes, you. The inquisitive reader. Welcome to the first article in my series of underrated gems. Over the course of time (possibly forever), I will be bringing you articles about horror films that I truly believe critics and general audiences to have gotten wrong. That’s not to say I’m right all of the time, but if the shoe fits, I might as well wear it. This weeks film of choice is criminally underrated – receiving mixed to negative reviews from critics and audiences alike. That film, is Eduardo Sanchez’s Lovely Molly

Lovely Molly was directed by Eduardo Sanchez from a script by himself and Jamie Nash. Sanchez is best known for co-directing the wildly popular film The Blair Witch Project, and this film sometimes utilizes the found footage aspect that was made famous by the aforementioned Blair Witch. At its core, however, Lovely Molly is a straightforward psychological horror film – and an unnerving one to boot. The film follows newlywed couple Molly and Tim as they move into Molly’s childhood home. Upon arriving, Molly is plagued by troubling memories of her youth. Weird things begin happening around the house, occurring mostly to Molly each time that Tim, a truck driver, is away on business. As her past is resurrected all around her, Molly becomes influenced by her past addictions and underlying emotional trauma.

lovelyI’m a fan of acting just as much as I am a fan of movies in general. I admire performances and am well aware that the acting within a film holds enough weight to carry it, or, to make the film fall flat. This particular film relies solely on the performance of Gretchen Lodge to make it work. As her condition worsens, we have to feel it. We have to see it and believe without a shadow of a doubt that this woman is unwell. Fortunately for the film, Lodge lends the film a disturbing, powerhouse performance – one so terrifyingly perfect that I’m surprised she isn’t a household name five years later. The other actors in the film are fine – Johnny Lewis as Tim and Alexandra Holden as Hannah, Molly’s sister, in particular – but this is Lodge’s showcase. She carries Lovely Molly, and she carries it far.

But is the film scary?

You betcha. 

Lovely Molly makes for an intensely unsettling viewing experience. In one of the earliest scenes of the film, Molly and Tim awake to their alarm system buzzing. The couple begin to venture downstairs – Molly with Tim and Tim with a baseball bat – only to be frightened by loud slamming noises that scare them back into their bedroom. Sanchez’s execution of this scene, and of similar scenes throughout the movie, provide Lovely Molly with a tension that lingers through the entirety of its runtime. One of the resounding highlights of Lovely Molly is that Sanchez doesn’t pander to the needs of the audience. I’ve known people to be confused by the events that are occurring, not knowing exactly what’s going on. The answers are there, you just have to connect the dots yourself – something I appreciate very much, not just in horror, but cinema in general.

lovely 2

Final Thoughts:

I can’t for the life of me understand why Lovely Molly was received in such a negative manner. The film is smart and trusts its audience to keep up with its intelligence as it tackles themes of addiction, mental illness, and sexual assault. The lead performance by Gretchen Lodge is powerful and emotionally resonant, and Eduardo Sanchez proves that he can still be a factor within the horror genre. I implore you to give this one a chance. 

Rotten Tomatoes

Critics – 41%

Audience – 32%

My Score: 8/10

About Curt Oglesbee

I'm just a guy that loves to write and talk about movies.

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