To say "The Blair Witch Project" was a hit would be an understatement. "Blair Witch" was a pop culture phenomenon that took the world by storm. In a summer that gave us "The Phantom Menace" and "The Mummy", a little horror film that came out of nowhere became the most talked about movie of that season. It was mentioned by stand up comics, late night talk show hosts, news networks, praised by critics and even made the cover of Time magazine.
Then the inevitable backlash (remember that bad putdown from "Family Guy"?), spoofs, imitators (remember "The Saint Francisville Experiment"? Of course you don't), controversies (the creators of "The Last Broadcast" saying they did it first-"Cannibal Holocaust" would like to have a word with them) and failed future projects (a disastrously bad sequel and the show "FreakyLinks" only lasting one season) helped cause the directors from being the next big thing to people nobody cared about. Nonetheless, they're still making movies, such as today's entry, "Lovely Molly" from director Eduardo Sanchez.
Molly (Gretchen Lodge) couldn't be happier. She just got married to Tim (Johnny Lewis) and is moving into her dads countryside house. However, she soon starts to loose her mind, and begins to see haunting visions. However, is this the presence of a supernatural force, or the trauma of an abusive father coming back?
When "Lovely Molly" works, it really works. The acting is mostly great, especially Lodge. She fully commits herself to the role, and manages to make Molly both a sympathetic and terrifying figure at the same time. Sanchez also manages to almost perfectly capture the disintegration of a romantic relationship, making the fate of Molly and her husband both tragic and creepy. Best of all, he never over uses the found footage concept, and only relies on it fleetingly. By limiting the amount of caught on camera scenes to only a few, he's able to capture the drama of the situation at hand without making it feel artificial.
At the same time, it's flaws are very glaring. For one thing, it should at least have five minutes cut from it. at an hour and forty minutes, it tends to drag a little. It's also unintentionally amusing at times, especially a scene where Molly tries to seduce a reverend. These moments sour the movie some, as does the conclusion, which offers more questions than it does answers. Granted, it thankfully doesn't lend itself to a sequel, but it left me thinking "Wait, that's it?"
"Lovely Molly" isn't a bad, movie. It's mostly watchable, and has moments that damn near raise goosebumps. Still, it ends up feeling like a missed opportunity, and that Sanchez and his co-writer should have polished the script a little.