The Haunting of Molly Hartley, a 2008 horror film which just released on DVD, is a strange movie, somewhat derivative of other horror films including To the Devil a Daughter, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Omen. It begins with the 1997 murder of a 17-year-old girl right before her 18th birthday
by her father who is ranting, “I don’t want them to get you. I don’t want them to get you.”
Cut to present day when 17-year-old Molly Hartley arrives at her new school. Viewers of The Haunting of Molly Hartley quickly learn that Molly hears things and has flashbacks to the time her mother tried to stab her. Molly is shy and withdrawn, definitely a loner. The one person who tries to help Molly is the school outcast, a “weird” Christian girl who hums hymns in class, and it outspoken about her faith. We discover later that the Christian girl’s aunt is a nurse in the mental institution where Molly Hartley’s mother is an inmate.
A couple of unknown elements in Molly Hartley’s new life are Joseph Young, the incredibly handsome rich boy in town who takes an instant intense interest in Molly, as well as the school psychiatrist who tells Molly she can call on her if she ever needs help.
When Molly ultimately turns to her Christian friend for help and asks for salvation in a terrified, panicked and confused moment, the resulting baptismal scene is shocking and disturbing and begs the question: what would you do if you found something about to become the equivalent of the antichrist in your hands in a baptistry?
The Haunting of Molly Hartley ends with an apparent “happy ending” as a radiantly popular Molly Hartley is about to graduate with honors, with the boy of her dreams and everything she could possibly want waiting for her. This scene is subtly disturbing as it is never made clear exactly what Molly Hartley might have become.
Full of false scares and flashbacks, The Haunting of Molly Hartley is somewhat disjointed to follow. Molly not only has flashbacks of her mother, but also present-day visions of her mother returning to stab her. Although I did not find The Haunting of Molly Hartley too difficult to follow, I read on several movie boards that many viewers had difficulty jumping from flashbacks to the present to Molly’s visions, back and forth, and found The Haunting of Molly Hartley very confusing.
The Haunting of Molly Hartley stars Haley Bennett (Music and Lyrics, Marley and Me) as Molly Hartley and Chace Crawford (“Gossip Girl”) as Joseph Young. Although I can’t quite recommend The Haunting of Molly Hartley, I will say I was drawn in by the story, in spite of the movie’s disjointed style. Fans of the horror genre or of somewhat provocative movies with spiritual twists may find The Haunting of Molly Hartley intriguing.
Read my Twilight movie review at Twilight at Midnight
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