When the previews for The Haunting of Molly Hartley arrived online last fall, it looked pretty bad/cheesy/disastrous. But, lessons have taught me that looks can be deceiving, and that a movie with a bad trailer won't necessarily be a bad movie. Then again, looks aren't always deceiving.
The Haunting of Molly Hartley is one of countless horror movies released each year, and was seemingly chosen at random - or by a game of rock/paper/scissors - to receive a theatrical release. Generic storytelling gives way to generic direction, but the painfully abrupt ending will go down as one of the worst endings ever to grace the silver screen.
The very pretty Haley Bennett stars as the title character, a girl who has moved to a new school to escape past horrors. In other words, she's trying to forget that her insane mother tried to murder her by stabbing her in the chest. At her new school, however, she begins to hear voices and see her mother - who is locked away in a crazy farm. I see schizophrenia, she sees signs that she is destined to do evil things. Potato, Po-tot-o. Throw in a love interest and the husband from "Medium" and you have yourself a movie, or three-fourths of a movie, at least.
In honesty, much of The Haunting of Molly Hartley isn't that bad. There's nothing original about the picture, but nothing terrible, either. Director Mickey Liddell knew he didn't have much to work with and dealt with it by providing a moderately entertaining little tale. Bennett does a good-enough job to carry the picture.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers apparently ran out of money at the end. One moment the movie is rolling along, the next the ending credits are rolling. The ending makes little sense, or is so poorly explained and disappointing that you'd rather have it make no sense. I'm not sure what the filmmakers were going for, but it couldn't possibly be the ending the movie shipped with. The Haunting of Molly Hartley has one of the worst and most abrupt ending of 2008.
Aside from the ending, The Haunting of Molly Hartley is a watchable horror movie, regardless of how generic it is. Unfortunately, endings are important.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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