The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008)

Genre(s): Horror
Fox || PG13 - 82 minutes - $29.99 || February 24, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-03-03

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Mickey Liddell
Writer(s): John Travis & Rebecca Sonnenshine (written by)
Cast: Haley Bennett, Jake Weber

Theatrical Release Date: October 31, 2008

Supplemental Material:
  • Interviews
  • Theatrical Trailer

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Thereís some weird flashback scene at the start that doesnít really make a lot of sense, as it appeared to me that none of the characters were involved later on the movie. Then again they could have been, but itís a rather dumb opening sequence. Anyways, this girl is dating this guy who her father hates. The two are planning to get married until the father barges in drunk and takes his daughter in the car. Since heís drunk, he tries to kill his daughter by hitting a barn but the girl grabs the wheel and manages to stop it. Then the truck is hit by a huge semi, but the girls still alive. That is, until the dad stabs her with a knife, killing her.

Yeah, it makes sense a little bit later on, but still a rather boring opening scene.

Molly Hartley (Haley Bennett) and her father Robert (Jake Weber) recently moved to a new town to start a new life. Molly is heading to her new high school, and we learn that she is very bright as her G.P.A. is like near a 4.0. Anyways, she meets with Mr. Bennett (Ron Canada, who for some reason is in nearly EVERY movie I see these days), the principal at the school, who has another student Alexis (Shanna Collins) escort her around for the day. Alexis is some sort of religious person, as during class later on she chants and sings prayers that annoy the other student and make her the outcast of the group.

Molly is also ordered to see a psychiatrist, Dr.Emerson (Nina Siemaszko), as part of what happened to her in the past. Her mom tried to stab her with scissors, and she has the scar to prove it. Apparently her mother is a bit psychotic (and by bit it turns out not that psychotic, but pretty close) and is now locked up forever in a mental institution. Mind you, this is a horror film, so by now you should realize that this isnít true and she continually appears in the form of a dream throughout the movie.

During one of her courses, Mollyís nose begins to bleed and runs to the bathroom to have a psychotic episode involving her mother trying to kill her again. This happens multiple times throughout the film, as it tries to produce that lame ďoh look we can have a somewhat loud noise happen but nothing major goes onĒ sequence. She tries to play it off as a panic attack, but no one really believes her.

She goes to see the psychiatrist after skipping the first day and notices a girl as she leaves afterwards, Leah (Shannon Marie Woodward), who she befriends and chooses to ditch hanging out with the religious girl and go to a party instead. Oh, I forgot to mention that for some reason Joseph Young (Chace Crawford) has been flirting with Molly for most of the film even though he has a girlfriend named Suzie (AnnaLynne McCord) which ticks her off to no end.

So Molly and Leah go to the party, which is at Josephís house, and a fight erupts between Suzie and Molly. Needless to say, all the years of trying to avoid her mother somehow made Molly a UFC fighter and proceeds to break Suzieís arm in a rather entertaining fight scene. Afterwards she leaves the party and sees visions of her mother yet again trying to kill her to ďset her freeĒ or something like that. Why is her mother trying to kill her? Is Molly insane? Does it matter?

I like horror films, but this is just one that doesnít work. The running time (under an hour and a half) also hurts the movie as it took seventy-five minutes to get the story going, and by then I just didnít care. While the cast, Bennett/Crawford/Woodward/Collins are all great in this project, they canít save a broken script. This is only scary from the bad story and lame scares.


Cast and Crew Interviews (8 minutes): The cast and crew talk about the movie and the hardships they went through to make it. One of the actresses discusses ďbeing emotionally available every day.Ē

Finally, the filmís Theatrical Trailer is presented.


Video wise, this is a fairly good looking film. Colors for the most part are fine, and donít present any issues of being too colorful or overblown. They look how they should, which is a great thing compared to other movies Iíve seen. Contrast however is a bit of an issue, as some scenes and flesh tones appear a bit too dark compared to others, which is a problem in multiple scenes. However, despite the contrast issues, this is still a pretty good looking transfer.

Disappointing for a horror film, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track underwhelms in more ways than one. Dialogue levels rarely are consistent throughout the movie, and even the action scenes arenít loud enough nor do they pack a real punch. For a genre that relies on cheap tricks and scares, the sound was such a problem that even the spooky scenes were rather lame and didnít produce much from the speakers.


Iíve said it many times that I love the lame horror films, but The Haunting of Molly Hartley goes way beyond the horrible scale. The story is mundane, the characters flawed, and the ending is so ridiculous I almost want to spoil it for you to save you eighty-two painful minutes. As though I canít say how the video was, the audio is rather ďblahĒ and a completely devout special features, this is one to stay away from. This is a haunted DVD, sorry to say. Jeez, I need to hire writers one day to come up with witty lines at the end of these reviews.