M.L. Miller here! As I go into the tenth year of reviewing horror films, I wanted to go back to the beginning and repost some of the films I loved. Last month, counted down my favorite horror films from my first year of reviewing. Now it’s on to Year Two which began officially on October 1, 2011 and went through September 30, 2012. I have posted compilation lists in the past, but a lot of those old reviews haven’t seen the light of day since they were first posted many moons ago. Being the OCD person that I am, I have also worked and reworked the list, looking back at my own choices and shifting them around a bit. I’ve even added a few that I might have missed or looked over from the year in question. So, if you think you know how these lists are going to turn out, you don’t!

How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st, 2011 and September 30, 2012 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number—31. Again, I never call myself any kind of expert in horror. I simply watch a lot of horror films and love writing about them. Don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!

Released on May 18, 2012 and available on Video On Demand, digital download, and DVD/BluRay!

LOVELY MOLLY (2011)

Directed by Eduardo Sanchez
Written by Eduardo Sanchez, Jamie Nash
Starring Gretchen Lodge, Johnny Lewis, Alexandra Holden, Field Blauvelt
Find out more about this film here!

LOVELY MOLLY is not a pretty film. It’s not one of those films with a jump scare and then it gives you time to laugh and let out a sigh of relief. It’s a film that hammers hard, burrows deep, and festers fast under your skin both due to director Eduardo Sanchez’s skill at patiently letting the story unfold and a bold performance by its lead actress Gretchen Lodge who plays Molly, a perfectly normal girl you can’t help but become enamored with as the opening credits display her wedding videos and all of the chaos which leads to making a woman’s special day happen. As Molly is put through the physical and emotional wringer later in the film, I guarantee some of the more easily offended will not be able to take it.

LOVELY MOLLY is a film that pulls no punches. It involves a woman being haunted by her past. Is it a ghost? Is it a demon? Is it the product of an unwell mind? Sanchez lays out all of the facts but refrains from giving us all of the answers. What we can agree on is that Molly has a tormented soul and the horror she experiences would cause anyone to crack. Shades of THE ENTITY, REPULSION, and THE EXORCIST are definitely present in this film as it centers on the plight of one woman versus otherworldly forces which are assaulting her body and mind to the breaking point. As those films illustrate this descent into madness in their own particular way, so does LOVELY MOLLY due to some deft choices by the director.

The most effective of which is the well tread style of the hand held, first person POV can seen in most found footage films. Instead of sticking to that style all the way through, Sanchez has the sophistication to pull off the shift from cinematic storytelling we are all used to first person POV slickly; only using it when the story needs it. Some other shot on camera uses, such as the assault in the back room of the mall shop caught on a security cam is equally disturbing. This scene in particular could be laughably over the top, but Sanchez subtly uses only snippets of this video intermixed with reaction shots of those watching it, which amps up the effectiveness of the scene to a haunting degree.

The use of sound is also a huge factor in how chilling this movie is. The all-encompassing echo of a voice singing “Mmmmolllllyyyyy…” is the stuff that will wake you up at night. Other subtle tweaks like the amplification of the noises from the outside and even the void of silence in key scenes of pure tension make every moment that is supposed to be scary, scary as hell.

Though the effects are at a minimum, there are some scenes that will make your stomach churn. But for the most part, the terror is all conveyed in the performances by the three lead actors. Johnny Lewis plays the most patient husband ever/Molly’s doting husband—who, despite her horrible actions and chaos going on around her, still loves and wants to help her. Her sister, played by Alexandra Holden, is equally good as someone conflicted with the knowledge of seeing her sister devolve, but knowing that treatment will most likely cause her to fall even more. The conflict between these two people in Molly’s life is a well realized one and despite the craziness that we as the audience witness in Molly’s downward psychological spiral, we can see the point of where they are coming from.

Gretchen Lodge, though, steals the movie. 95% of the film is just her in a room reacting to something we cannot see. And despite that, the film is bone chillingly scary throughout because of her actions and reactions. Lodge takes Molly to extreme highs and dark lows in a believable manner that never reeks of melodrama or overacting. Sure to be a big star, Lodge makes this film all the more better because of her performance.

I can’t say enough good things about this film. For its overall sense of dread and creep. For its stellar performances. For its use of sound and inventive use of a much-used hand held camera. LOVELY MOLLY is one of those films that does not shy away at boring deep within the viewer and taking them to places that are more horrific than most horror films released today.


THE 2011-2012 COUNTDOWN!


#2 – LOVELY MOLLY
#3 – BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW
#4 – THE SKIN I LIVE IN
#5 – ENTRANCE
#6 – AMER
#7 – KILL LIST
#8 – BEDEVILLED
#9 – THE LOVED ONES
#10 – CABIN IN THE WOODS
#11 – THE DIVIDE
#12 – HAROLD’S GOING STIFF
#13 – SOUND OF MY VOICE
#14 – COLD SWEAT
#15 – THE INNKEEPERS
#16 – THE PACT
#17 – V/H/S
#18 – OUTCAST
#19 – LITTLE DEATHS
#20 – JUAN OF THE DEAD
#21 – BLOOD JUNKIE
#22 – THE SNOWTON MURDERS
#23 – PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 3
#24 – [REC]3 GENESIS
#25 – JULIA’S EYES
#26 – MOTHER’S DAY
#27 – EL PARAMO (THE SQUAD)
#28 – INBRED
#29 – THE SLEEPER
#30 – FATHER’S DAY
#31 – THE MOTH DIARIES


M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.

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