‘I’m not in control’ are the first words we hear from the not-so lovely Molly (who resembles a wasted crack whore), in the new horror from director Eduardo Sánchez, best known for that Blair Witch phenomenon a decade ago.
So how did Molly (Gretchen Lodge) end up in such a pathetic state, and what terrible thing has she done? We soon find out through her home movies; beginning with her wedding and then setting up house with her new husband Tim (Johnny Lewis) in her parent’s old home, plus some good old-fashioned genre storytelling.
With her trucker husband away for long periods, Molly finds herself all alone in the house – where a sense of dread hangs like a funeral pall. Something horrible involving her dead father happened in the house, and Molly soon believes his spirit is hiding in the shadows. Neither Tim nor Molly’s pot-smoking sister believe her because of her history of drug abuse. Is this just a re-occurrence? Well, the fact Molly’s using again doesn’t help her case – it just makes matters worse. So, is she possessed or is it just the drugs talking? When the truth starts to reveal itself and Molly starts stalking the woods with her camcorder, you think the poor lass really has gone over the ledge. Then comes the ‘money shot’, and you find yourself shouting at the screen, ‘What the hell?’
Sánchez has crafted a seriously disturbing movie that evokes Roman Polanski classic 1965 psychological chiller Repulsion – another tale about a woman’s descent into madness in the confines of a single setting. He’s also thrown in the short sharp shocks of the Paranormal Activity kind (banging doors, alarms going off, etc) that audiences want from this kind of movie. But the possibility that Molly might be genuinely mentally ill overshadows the scare tactics. Newcomer Lodge gives an amazing visceral performance, so much so that I wanted to call a medic and get her treated. And while the final scene sort of answers my concerns, it still feels like it was tacked on just to allay my fears.
And just one last thing, the music (by Tortoise) is like a pneumatic drill and a fleet of helicopters going off inside your head. Brilliant – if you like skull-splitting soundscapes.
Lovely Molly is released in UK cinemas on 29 June
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.