REVIEW: ‘The Haunting of Molly Hartley’

Cast:
Haley Bennett
Jake Weber
Chace Crawford
Shannon Marie Woodward

This is the worst movie I’ve seen since I started reviewing by far.

The film follows the titular character, played by Haley Bennet, whose own mother tried to kill her because when she turns 18, she could become evil. The movie picks up with her at age 17 with Molly moving to a town right next to an insane asylum where her mother is at… for some reason.

The film follows both Molly’s experiences as a high school student and her searching for answers into the mystery of why people think she will become evil when she turns 18.

“Haunting,” surprisingly, has little actual haunting in it. Instead, the movie is much more focused on a very poorly explained demon cult plot. Worse than the terrible premise of Satan trying to recruit the main character, though, was the execution of the film’s tone.

The movie, which mixes the cult stuff with heavy doses of high school drama takes itself way too damn seriously. Either they should have lightened the mood, seeing as this is PG-13, or make it an R and just cut the high school drama nonsense.

This likely wouldn’t have helped much, though, since the script was absolutely horrendous. Every line of dialogue that comes out of a teen’s mouth sounds manufactured and unreal.

The acting meanwhile is some of the worst that has been put to film this year. Horror movies aren’t known for having consistently good performances, but sometimes the actors can have some fun with the roles. Not the case here, because the less-than-talented performers are given nothing but over-serious bs to spout off here.

When it comes to horror, though, the main question is always, ‘was it scary?’ This movie certainly wasn’t. If you enjoy constant jump scares, this might be for you. And hey, jump scares can work if there’s a payoff, with something actually causing the jump and the fear continuing because of the atmosphere. That’s not the case here, the jumps are used like cheap tricks with no payoff.

Additionally, the movie’s ending makes little sense and will make a person angry leaving the theater knowing how much time they just wasted.

“The Haunting of Molly Hartley” is a disaster, even worse than “Prom Night,” released earlier this year. This doesn’t even deserve a 1, so it gets a 0.5 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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