EIFF 2012: Lovely Molly
The Blair Witch Project's co-director, Eduardo Sánchez, makes a return to the horror genre with the conceptually striking Lovely Molly; a film which meddles with the audience's conceptions of the eponymous heroine in a way reminiscent of Rosemary's Baby. Unfortunately, the execution is far from similar to the Polanski classic as Lovely Molly gets tangled up by spurious plot strands that are scattered at the audience.
Molly is a newly-wed who moves into her long-abandoned childhood home in which she is left alone for days on end whilst her husband, Tim, earns his keep as a truck driver. Molly finds herself isolated in a house full of repressed memories and a dark force that terrorises her life and questions the audience about whether these horrors are spirits haunting Molly or, in fact, a product of a relapsed drug induced psychosis and nervous breakdown.
Gretchen Lodge excels in the titular role, laying herself bare as Molly transforms from blushing bride to the emotional train-wreck that features for the greater part of the picture. Lodge is the focal point of the film and her performance does remarkably well to shine a light away from the problems which riddle this feature. There is a nod to Sánchez's work as mainstream pioneer of the found footage genre of horror as the opening scenes of Lovely Molly are exclusively depicted through hand-held camera footage. However, the film soon reverts to a more conventional filming style albeit with a series of scenes shot with hand-held cameras in a POV style which, actually, are detrimental to the film's pacing and coherence. In addition to that, there are plot strands, one in particular which involves the significance of horses, which are set up to no great avail for the story and some visual moments which bear little to no relevance to Molly's journey. Whilst these are genuine sit up in your seat whilst mouthing “what?” moments, they draw a fine line between shocking and being laughable for them to be justifiable elements worth slipping into the final cut.
To suggest that Lovely Molly loses control in the third act would be a gross understatement but that doesn't take enough away from my enjoyment of Gretchen's portrayal of Molly and the unique visuals that it is desperate to pull off. Soured only by a muddle of ideas which haven't been executed seamlessly, Lovely Molly is a profoundly dark film that is well worth your time.