Lovely Molly (Blu-ray) (2011)
|Year Of Production||2011|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Eduardo Sánchez|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (2304Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
"A troubled young woman and the evil power that exists inside of her."
Lovely Molly is the latest film from director Eduardo Sánchez who gained a reputation for his work on the Blair Witch Project (1999). In similar fashion to Blair Witch the opening scenes are self shot handy-cam, but fortunately this story-telling device is not used extensively. Gretchen Lodge as Molly is the newly married ex drug-addict who returns to live in her rural family home after the death of her father. Molly and her husband Tim (Johnny Lewis) are struggling financially and so are taking advantage of using the house despite it having some bad memories for Molly. Tim is a truck driver who spends time away from home, whereas Molly works as a cleaner back in town. Pretty soon some unsettling events occur which shake the couple's sense of security and Tim is reluctant to leave Molly alone to resume his trucking job. They need the money however, so Molly assures Tim she'll be fine. During Tim's absence Molly begins to see and hear things that she can't explain, and so begins to carry a handy-cam around to record events. Molly also starts exploring the house itself where she finds some strange imagery and a little-used room in the basement. Her sister Hannah (Alexandra Holden) who lives nearby starts to worry about Molly's psychological state and the possibility she might be resuming her drug habit.
On Tim's return from his latest trip he finds some used heroin paraphernalia and Molly in a distressed state sitting naked and staring at the bedroom ceiling. All she says is an ambiguous "He's alive". It is clear that Molly needs psychological evaluation but the couple cannot afford professional help. The local pastor Bobby (Field Blauvelt) is brought into the situation as Molly's descent becomes more disturbing and depraved. With Tim's frequent absences away from home the increasingly unhinged Molly is left to roam the house and surrounds by herself with long suppressed family secrets coming to the fore. Simultaneous with these events it is evident that someone is stalking a neighbouring home and filming the family's little girl. When the girl disappears it is clear that circumstances have taken a more sinister turn, and that Molly is at the centre of a diabolical sequence of events that may lead to disaster.
Lovely Molly is a truly disturbing film with an excellent storyline which leaves you thinking well after the closing credits scroll off screen. Although derivative of a number of earlier films such as Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity and Amityville amongst others, there is enough here that is different to keep most viewers enthralled. There is significant use of POV handy-cam throughout which thankfully is used appropriately. Events are also unfolding for the most part in real time, so there is no requirement for lengthy explanations about what is going on and when. Newcomer actress Lodge is excellent as the title character, with creditable support from Lewis and Holden. The only other character of note apart from the pastor is the local cop (Ken Arnold) and Molly's work associates, however they are kept very much in the background. A lot of the tension in Lovely Molly is generated through the ambiguity of what is going on. At no time is it totally clear whether what is happening is real or imagined or drug induced, or whether events are being controlled by Molly or by a sinister outside influence. Also not clear is what is meant by the references to horses, and how this relates to the relationship between Molly, Hannah, and their dead father. Sánchez does not give us the benefit of closure in Lovely Molly. We are left with the sense that something supernatural might have happened, but that the whole story hasn't been told and that another chapter is commencing.
Lovely Molly is presented in the aspect of 1.78:1 (theatrical aspect 1.85:1) on a 1080p AVC mpeg-4 encoded Blu-ray disc. Cinematographer John W. Rutland has created a film which is clean and sharp with detailed imagery – albeit with a muted colour palette which is in keeping with the sombre atmosphere of the plot itself and the run-down nature of the surrounds. The handy-cam footage is, as you'd expect, noticeably noisier and made to look distinctly amateur. Contrast and black levels are very good with everything easy to discern despite the often gloomy lighting. The only exception to this is the penultimate scene which is deliberately filmed to be indistinct. Colours are accurate with the blood a realistic red and the skin tones accurate – apart from later when Molly adopts a distinctly unhealthy, but intentional pallor.
The sole DTS-HD MA 5.1 track makes excellent use of surrounds to carry the tension and discomfort. The LFE track is also used extensively to create a wall of sonic effect that pulsates from the walls and accentuates the tension – even if nothing actually happens. The lack of clichéd scare moments actually helps build tension as the viewer doesn't have many opportunities to let off a burst of adrenalin. I found this technique very effective as the squeaks and groans and sounds of movement often have no climax so you are constantly in a state of edginess. Voices are clear at all times and the musical score blends in well with the onscreen action and sound mix. On my system the sound levels were higher than usual and so would be very loud at reference levels. It is a credit to the sound designer that high listening levels were not required to make the soundscape effective.
This audio track is excellent.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu featured looping audio with pictorial background.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region A disc contains a commentary with Director/Co-Writer Eduardo Sánchez and Co-Writer Jamie Nash, and featurettes providing background on a different aspect of the film's story (Path to Madness, Haunted Past, Demonic Forces, Is It Real). There is also a theatrical trailer and trailers for other films. Why the local disc misses out on the extras is a mystery and also an absolute disgrace. Lovely Molly needs the additional information included in the extras to explain a lot of what has happened and fill in the background story. Some might argue that a film shouldn't need to be explained, however I prefer a bit of mystery and the option to make a personal assessment. You are highly advised to import from the USA.
I really enjoyed Lovely Molly and it had me thinking for a long time afterwards. The audio is excellent, the video is very good, and the story itself had me intrigued. The sex scene is pretty confronting so be aware if watching with your maiden aunt or teenage daughter. There is also a bit of full frontal nudity from Lodge. I suggest you give it a try if you are a fan of psychological horror movies.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910 and Panasonic BD-35, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||denon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|