Lovely Molly is an outstanding new horror film from Eduardo Sánchez, the co-director of The Blair Witch Project. He is widely regarded as the man who invented, or at least helped champion, the found-footage horror movie, and his latest chiller is an exceptional marriage of third-person and first-person narrative filmmaking.
The film is probably best described as Paranormal Activity meets Black Swan, via [REC]. It charts the disintegrating mental state of a newly married young woman (Gretchen Lodg). She used to be a drug addict when she was younger, and now, after experiencing terrifying experiences when alone in the house (her husband is a truck driver, regularly away for extended periods) she turns back to her life-threatening habit.
As her paranoia and insanity continues she becomes violent and her sister and her partner try desperately to calm her down. But they are unable to rid her of her demons (whether they be psychological or supernatural), and as the film builds towards its extraordinary conclusion a crescendo of madness and violence is thrown at the viewer. It’s stomach-churning and eye-watering.
So many aspects of this film lift it above the usual mundane ghostly nonsense that haunts cinemas and DVD shelves these days (as I write this, Paranormal Activity 4 is showing in multiplexes). It treats its characters a multi-dimensional people instead of pawns in a jumpy game of human chess.
It’s also refreshing to see the dangerous drug cannabis portrayed as a harmful and inadvisable substance – a welcome change after many movies’ irresponsible attempts to normalise and trivialise it.
The performances from the leading actors are pitch-perfect, especially Gretchen Lodg. Although she is an actor with very little past experience, I expect Lodg to receive a lot more work after this film. Her performance is terrifyingly convincing.
Lovely Molly is arguably derivative, but its tone and the way Sánchez handles his material makes it succeed and feel fresh and original. Get it on blu-ray, turn off the lights, and enjoy one of the creepiest little horrors of the year.
Lovely Molly (2012), directed by Eduardo Sánchez, is released on blu-ray and DVD by Metrodome Distribution, Certificate 15.