Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lovely Molly (2011) Not-So-Happy Homecoming

A few years ago, I went back to the house in which I grew up.  It had literally been 20 years since I set foot in there, and the people who live there now were kind enough to let me come in and take some pictures - they knew my family anyway, so that made it easier.  If there were ghosts in that house on the lake, they were friendly and welcoming.

Let's just say that the homecoming Molly receives in Lovely Molly isn't exactly friendly and welcoming.

Directed by one of the co-creators of The Blair Witch Project, Eduardo Sanchéz (who also shares writing duties with Jamie Nash), Lovely Molly is one of those quietly terrifying films that stick with you after you've watched it, as you try to decipher the code left by the filmmakers.  Not everything is clear-cut, and yet the answers are there, depending on how you see them.  While the movie isn't perfect, the underlying story and the incredible acting help make it one to at least check out.

Newlyweds Molly (Gretchen Lodge) and Tim (Johnny Lewis, shortly before his death) move into Molly's childhood home, not far from her more grounded sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden).  It's a spooky old place, and former heroin addict Molly has a rough go of staying there alone while Tim out on the road as a truck driver. One night, Molly hears crying coming from a lonely closet.  We never see what she sees, but from there, it's all downhill for poor Molly.  Her behavior becomes increasingly strange.  She gets back on the "horse," so to speak.  She swears to her sister that their father is still alive and once again assaulting her, although no one ever sees him.  Film evidence shows nothing and Molly retreats into a drug-addled, fugue state that sees her wandering at night, having problems at work, and making lewd advances on the local pastor.  Oh, and something about a deer.  You'll see.  Things spiral out of control until the odd, subjective ending.

The film is undeniably creepy, with many of the scares coming during night scenes and when Molly is alone.  Is Molly being haunted by her evil father from beyond the grave?  You will have to decide as the end credits roll.  There are multiple interpretations, and a good deal of them make perfect sense.  The acting is tremendous, with Lodge as the focal point.  With little film experience, she masterfully conveys happiness, familiarity, rage, fear, and something quite spooky all within the runtime.  Holden is great as her sister, and Lewis shows just how much talent was wasted with his sad, short life.  The answers to the film are not all there, but it still stands as a pretty decent outing - despite one sort-of "what-the" scene.  I won't spoil it, but I did say "what the?" out loud during it.

So you want to visit your childhood home?  Just make sure it doesn't involve creepy sounds and horse imagery...unless you lived on a ranch.  Even still...

Here, enjoy the trailer:

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