The Haunting of Molly Hartley
title The Haunting of Molly Hartley is rather misleading. There
are no ghosts here, though the film tries to tease you for a while that
maybe they are lurking just out of sight. (We hear lots of whispering
voices, see occasional sudden movements off to the side and... well, that's
about it, actually.)
see, Molly Hartley is concerned with an
entirely different scope of the supernatural. It actually has much
more in common with Rosemary's Baby than The Sixth Sense -
though as a movie it is certainly not nearly as good as either of those
However, if you ever wondered what Rosemary's Baby would look like if
it were made for MTV - without the scares but with heaping loads of gorgeous
teens wallowing in angst - then perhaps The Haunting of Molly Hartley
is the film for you. Most other people will probably be rather
underwhelmed by it, though.
Hartley is a new girl in a tony, exclusive private school. She is
beautiful, she is smart (a 4.0 GPA, as one character points out for no
particular reason), she lives in a house to die for, the local BMOC (Chace
Crawford) already has set his sights on her - and yet she harbors a deep,
mother is a religious fanatic - another pit stop in the once-promising
career of actress Marin Hinkle, who was so beautiful and neurotic as Sela
Ward's sister on the turn-of-the-millennium TV drama Once and Again.
Mom recently tried to stab Molly to death with a pair of scissors.
moved the family to a new, spectacular town, but Molly is becoming convinced
that she too may be losing her mind, just like mom. This is mostly
because she has bad dreams, periodic panic attacks, nose bleeds and often
hears strange voices whispering her name. Her
mother has been committed and her dad (Jake Weber of TV's
haunted? Is she crazy?
know something more than that is going on because the film has a prologue
from ten years earlier which echoes many of the same problems which Molly is
now fighting... and therefore saps most of the suspense as to the fragility
of Molly's mental
lead character is played by Haley Bennett - who was so good in Music and
Lyrics and even brought a little temporary pulse and heartbeat to the
otherwise just awful College. Here, sadly, she seems a little
resigned to the fact that she is in a bit of a turkey. I know her
character's numbness is supposed to be because she is depressed and fears
for her sanity, but Bennett seems not so much despondent as disinterested.
little of consequence happens as far as horror, the writers bolster the
story with a bunch of pretty standard high school soap opera clichés.
There is the rich handsome guy who likes Molly, the bitchy cheerleader
ex-girlfriend who wants to make her life hell, the
just-a-bit-too-understanding guidance counselor, the rebellious cute girl
who becomes Molly's friend and the Jesus freak who tries to convert her.
film climaxes with one of the most subdued showdowns between good and evil
ever - a rather predictable, obvious and entirely too civilized
dénouement that saps the final plot "twist" of all its intended power.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: February 14, 2009.