THE PLOT THUS FAR
Molly Hartley looks to put her troubled past behind her with a fresh start at a new school, where she sparks with one of the most popular students. But can her secrets stay buried, especially as she learns more about the horrific truth that awaits her once she turns 18?
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Every time I saw a preview for this film I couldn’t help but think how much it looked and sounded like one of those 1970’s made-for-TV satanic panic horror movies, the sort that would have starred the likes of Pamela Sue Martin. Even the title – The Haunting of Molly Hartley – sounds like a title worthy of 1970’s made-for-TV horror movie.
And now that I’ve seen it I’m fully convinced the producers just found a 30-year old screenplay laying around for such a TV movie and decided to repackage it as a big screen release aimed at tweener girls still too young to be watching those sexually-charged CW Network teen programs yet are starting to get too old for the wholesomeness of Hannah Montana and think they’re just too much of a fashionista to go emo. It’s even shot like a made-for-cable television movie which only adds to the disbelief I have as to how this film ended up at a theater near you in the first place.
Ladies and gentlemen, The Haunting of Molly Hartley is a comically overwrought tour-de-force cliché-a-thon. This is epic, folks! The director – by god he was determined to make something out of nothing. Hallucinations on top of dream sequences. Dream sequences on top of ominous music. Ominous music on top of loud crashing sounds. Loud crashing sounds on top of constant jump scares. Nobody can just enter a scene without it resulting in a jump scare; everyone has to sneak up on Molly to the sound of a loud crash. I clocked three fake jump scares in under a minute early on. Almost every last one of these jump scares are nothing more than mundane happenings with their audio amplified to jolt you. This is a movie that features a cheap attempt at a jump scare in which the mailman putting mail through the front door mail slot resulted in what sounded like a gunshot.