There have been a lot of horror movies that have probed the line between madness and the supernatural lately — but Lovely Molly, coming out in limited release on May 18, might be the most interesting of the bunch. It's a look at a blue-collar protagonist who moves back into a house that raises all sorts of issues — and then there's a strange apparition on top of that. Check out an exclusive clip that shows just how fragile Molly's mental state becomes throughout the film.
Lovely Molly is written and directed by Eduardo Sanchez, who co-created The Blair Witch Project, and it's gotten some nice early buzz from film festivals. Here's the trailer, plus some details from the movie's one-sheet:
With the exquisite and haunting LOVELY MOLLY, Eduardo Sanchez takes the first-person video horror genre he pioneered with THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT and evolves it into a modern personal horror film with the raw, intimate character exploration that evokes memories of early Polanski films like REPULSION or ROSEMARY'S BABY.
Ten years ago, THE BLAIR WITCH phenomenon changed film-making, marketing and the way consumers enjoy content. Although characteristically humble about being a cultural icon, Sanchez notes, "One thing in the BLAIR aftermath I liked seeing was it seemed to give permission to studios and other indie filmmakers to experiment with first person cinema where the characters shoot the entire film through video cameras. I thought three in particular worked great: CLOVERFIELD, REC and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY."
In his own life, the culture-changing juggernaut of BLAIR allowed Sanchez, and his producers Robin Cowie and Gregg Hale, to spread their wings both personally and professionally. Over the last dozen years, movies, TV shows, advertising and transmedia work became virtual side projects to the main business of getting married, settling down and raising children.
Unfortunately none of these media projects were nearly as successful as BLAIR. This fact was neither lost on Sanchez, nor made it any easier for him to keep making movies.
Sanchez considers the phenomenon that was BLAIR, and its influence on another first-person horror hit, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.
"I was already writing LOVELY MOLLY when PARANORMAL came out," Sanchez begins, "and I have to confess: its success intensified the frustrations I was feeling at the time about being a filmmaker."
"I found myself looking into other careers, daydreaming about working at TARGET or TOYS R US. Jobs I could turn off after my shift. A job that didn't control my feelings of self-worth the way filmmaking does."
"I was feeling sorry for myself, becoming really negative. I began seeing a therapist and it really helped," says Sanchez, candidly. "It gave me perspective. I was reminded how lucky I was to be able to make movies at all."
With LOVELY MOLLY, Sanchez' filmmaking has matured and evolved; heralding a new era of first-person filmmaking. Sanchez' narrative approach for the film integrates a first person video perspective into old-school genre storytelling for which the "master" perspective may be that of the house and anyone in it at any given time.
There is no question that the filmmaker of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT has retained many of his favorite tropes. Both LOVELY MOLLY and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT feature harrowing, naturalistic performances by unknown actresses who won their respective parts after auditioning against hundreds, and both employ isolation as a filmmaking device and psychological metaphor.
But, with LOVELY MOLLY, director Eduardo Sanchez puts the video camera not into the hands of an ambitious film student, but those of a young woman who acquired a camera to document her recent wedding. And whereas BLAIR was constructed entirely of footage shot by the film's characters,
LOVELY MOLLY uses it sparingly, carefully weaving the video segments into a carefully crafted and beautifully cinematic whole.
"Molly's camera is a documentary tool," says director Eduardo Sanchez. "But it's also like a divining rod within the story. It helps Molly find her truth."
"Recording everyday events or using video cameras like a personal diary, whether that's on a phone or a webcam or whatever, is such an normal part of people's lives that it's almost weird that more films don't use first-person video," he adds. "But because of our use of it in BLAIR, I think some people might look at our using it again a little more critically. And honestly, I was ready to try something new."