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**SPOILERS – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED SO DON’T COME WHINGING TO ME**
Lovely Molly is the story of a young married couple, Molly and Tim, who go to live in Molly’s childhood home. Tim works away from home and Molly is forced to spend large amounts of time alone at the house – it soon becomes apparent that she is a disturbed young woman. With a history of drug abuse and mental health problems, as well as an abusive father and dead mother, Molly soon begins to exhibit disturbing behaviour. Is she heading for another break down, or are sinister supernatural forces at work?
Lovely Molly is – if I’m feeling generous – a tense psychological horror drama with an original perspective and disturbing finale. If I’m not feeling generous it’s a mess of a film that tries to be clever by leaving the audience guessing as to whether events are genuinely the result of supernatural activity or the imaginings of a disturbed mind. This doesn’t seem clever. It seems lazy, hackneyed and pretentious. Not least because you have to do some serious mental acrobatics to arrive at the conclusion that no supernatural powers played a part in events. Mysterious occult symbols in the cellar? Doors that open and slam of their own accord? Oh and A BIG FECKING DEMON in the garden?
It is undeniable that Eduardo Sanchez has taken the “throw it all together and see what happens” approach to film making with Lovely Molly. He describes the combination of first person footage and traditional film-making techniques as liberating and innovative. To the viewer it feels more like the lazy compromise of a director who doesn’t know what he’s doing. And to be honest, that’s how the whole film feels. At first it is refreshing to be swept along in the mystery and turmoil of Molly’s life – clueless and confused at what is happening. Eventually, it becomes frustrating – and as the climax approaches and it becomes obvious that no answers will be provided – downright irritating.
I don’t demand a linear story and at times I can even forego a plot – but despite the moments of genuine creepiness and a well crafted sense of pervading malevolence – I actually found Lovely Molly a bit dull. I think it was the meandering plot, the seemingly pointless detours and the empty characters that prevented me from engaging with this movie. I think the real problem with Lovely Molly is that it is ultimately soulless.
Even the finale (a refreshing departure from the Blair Witch school of film-making) in which we actually get to see the demonic presence, was an afterthought. Sanchez only included the demon after initial screening audiences asked for it. There is no real mythology to this film – just good sound effects and set-piece-scares. There is a sense of malevolence but it can only go so far – as I didn’t really care what happened to Molly because I never felt I knew her.
They tried to hype this film with a viral marketing campaign involving puzzles and videos about the history of the house and family – but frankly guys, I just don’t care enough to sit through them. And I don’t think anyone else does either.
In conclusion, Lovely Molly is worth watching – if only for the last 10 minutes – but ultimately this film left me with a sense of missed opportunity due simply to lazy film-making. A film doesn’t need to spoon feed you a plot – but it does need to give you enough to make you care. Sanchez found his forte with a style of film-making little elevated above film-student-project standard and it really is time to up the game.
Anyway, below is a screen grab of the demon. This was so unexpected and well done that when I first watched the film I found this scene really creepy and effective. When I went back to get the screen grab I couldn’t help noticing the resemblance to Wile E. Coyote – which did spoil it a bit.