It’s a double feature today so I can finish up both my Women Directors and V/H/S movies. Tomorrow I start on Australians but first, let’s talk about The Attic and Lovely Molly.
I didn’t really plan these as a double feature, they’re not even for the same theme, but they actually went really well together. Both are haunted house stories with a very troubled female protagonist at their center. The Attic is by Mary Lambert, the director of Pet Sematary, and I believe it was a straight to DVD release when it came out in 2008. Lovely Molly is by the guys who did the Ride in the Park segment in V/H/S/2. You know, the one I actually liked. And fun fact, director Eduardo Sanchez also directed The Blair Witch Project.
The Attic, 2008. Dir. Mary Lambert, Written by Tom Molloy. Starring Elisabeth Moss, Jason Lewis, John Savage, Catherine Mary Stewart.
Let’s start with The Attic.
The Attic tells the story of college aged Emma who has just moved to a spooky house with her family. Since moving in she’s begun acting strangely, seeing things in the attic, refusing to leave the house, not eating. The family tries to help her but she becomes more and more convinced that something is out to get her. It all spirals into madness and the audience is left question whether she really was ever haunted or if it was all just in her mind.
So not terrible premise, if a little on the unoriginal side, but this movie just really didn’t work for me. It all plays out in fairly predictable ways, the scares aren’t all that scary, and a lot of it just doesn’t make sense. While the question of Emma’s madness could have added tension, it all just ended up feeling more like a Lifetime Movie of the Week. Which it totally could have been!
I mean, I guess there’s something to be said for that. The melodrama, the cheese, the good looking model guy. I think I would have had a lot more fun with this one if I’d had a bottle of wine, a pizza, and the company of my old roommate Katie to laugh along with me. It’s one of those movies.
It was fun to see Elisabeth Moss in something other than Mad Men (Peggy!), I really do like her. And she’s good here. I maybe liked Jason Lewis better in Sex in the City, but he is still pretty to look at.
I don’t really know what I would have wanted this movie to do differently, maybe just cut down on the cheesiness or something. It certainly does have Mary Lambert’s style, it has a similar tone and style to Pet Sematary. Unfortunately I never liked that movie much either so I guess I’m not surprised I didn’t love this one.
Check it out if you really feel the need, but I think this one is pretty much a pass.
Lovely Molly, 2011. Dir. Eduardo Sanchez, Written by Jamie Nash & Eduardo Sanchez. Starring Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden.
Lovely Molly by comparison works much better. Newlyweds Tim and Molly move into Molly’s family home. Almost immediately there are mysterious occurrences and Molly is slowly overwhelmed by the malicious spirit dwelling in her home.
Like The Attic, Lovely Molly starts with a haunting focused around its female lead. People around her question if she’s well, is she depressed, is she using drugs again? Unlike The Attic though, Lovely Molly reveals information at a pace that serves the tension of the film, rather than killing it. We learn just as much as we need to know to be afraid for each character involved. First Molly, then Tim and her sister Hannah. The story also makes sense, the logic flows together also unlike The Attic where the logic was… well, difficult.
I thought at first Lovely Molly was going to be another Found Footage movie, which I wasn’t super excited about, but it’s not. It starts out that way but thankfully switches to an objective camera early on. It does go back and forth but they keep the camera handheld so the transitions are never jarring. I don’t mind the handheld, it’s fluid enough to give us the movement but we never get lost in shaky cam nonsense. Sigh of relief.
There are one or two plot points I didn’t love and the pacing is glacial through the middle section, but over all Lovely Molly is a solid little ghost movie. Once the pace finally picks up for the third act, let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed in the ending. Everything is tied up nicely and it’s all suitably creepy.
Some people may not love the reveal at the end but I didn’t hate it. It kind of went exactly where I thought it was going to go and there was something satisfying in that.
I think the thing with Lovely Molly that is keeping me from raving about it, is that there’s a sadness to it that keeps it from being fun. There’s tragedy in the backstory but that’s not exactly what I’m referring to. It’s not that the tragedy sets up their relationships, it’s more how it has continued to effect these characters. You get the feeling that these people would be a mess even if there was no supernatural element pushing them that direction. Take away the ghosts and this easily could have been a super depressing drama. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that but I think I was never really scared because I was just so depressed by these characters and the things they were going through.
This one is streaming on Netflix and I liked it. I mean, it’s maybe not the most amazing movie ever and I don’t know that you need to rush out for it, but it’s not a bad watch.
And that’s it for the ladies and the V/H/S. Tomorrow it’s on to Australia and hopefully I’ll be caught up and finishing Japan by the end of the week. Looking forward to it.