After The Blair Witch Project many wondered which of two directors could succeed in its wake. After 13 years, it’s now clear that Eduardo Sanchez is the master storyteller of the two as he delivers a wholesome scarefest with Lovely Molly, his demonic supernatural tale that crept up on Midnight Madness moviegoers.
Much like Sanchez’s awesome Altered, he doesn’t overcomplicate Molly; it’s a simple story that’s executed to near perfection without a forced twist. The film is organic nearly to a fault, but is so sharp that the audience will engaged until the end credits.
The film follows Molly (Gretchen Lodge) as she moves back into her childhood home with her new husband. Almost immediately she is haunted by an old demon that forces her back into madness.
The shocking imagery is slim to none as Sanchez delivers a movie predicated around the acting of Lodge and the nerve-racking sound design. Lodge puts on a freakish performance that ranges from sexy to haunting – she rapes her husband, she’s raped by an invisible entity, and is mentally abused by some spirit from the past. The film echoes the opening sequence from the infamous Entity, but drives it home for a full hour and a half.
Without taking anything away from Lodge’s performance, the sound design truly IS the movie; it’s trickled with creepy hoof stomps and horse snorts throughout. Much like Paranormal Activity, it does paint the viewer’s head with the image of Baphomet. This leads to a series of questions that keep the audience locked in for the duration of the film.
While the third act is a bit long and lacks a huge payoff, there’s enough there to leave you dwelling on it for a few days (Sanchez opts to leave the finale open to interpretation). Lovely Molly is subtle, brooding horror that merely delivers on everything it promises. Sanchez shows tremendous restraint in keeping it simple and in the end, rewards the audience with a haunting little film that’s ultimately timeless.