The Haunting of Molly Hartley, follows, you guessed it, Molly Hartley and her pesky haunting and does so as follows: Molly (Hayley Bennett) is attending a new high school in a new place with just her dad. He says "let's have a fresh start" at breakfast, foreshadowing things might not go so well. They've moved to the same community as her mother's mental health facility and soon Molly has headaches, hallucinations and troubles all stemming from the fact that mom jabbed a pair of scissors in her chest years ago and was put away. Molly is basically haunted by her mom...constantly, via flashbacks and what seems to be present day escape visits.
The standard teens are all here: the rebellious chick, the rich jock, the born-again Christian/geek girl, the teased-hairdo slut and poor Molly wanting to fit in somewhere. But this movie goes nowhere fast and stays there. Even a swinging teenage party is ruined mainly because it continually returns to Molly and her "what's wrong with me?" rants. After a nanosecond glimpse of the scissor stabbing, there are two nosebleeds in the movie accounting for the gore and a scene where Molly has a bra on, delivering our ration of PG-13 gratuitous sex and that's about it.Dad (Jake Webber from TV's Medium and the big-screen Dawn of the Dead redux) is overly concerned, proving to be a whining pantywaist the entire movie. Nina Siemaszko (playing school counselor Dr. Emerson) turns out to have done a lot of TV, but I deduced due to her wretched body language and wretched dialogue delivery that she easily may have based her career in porn.
Haunting all comes to a "Gee, I never thought that would happen in a million years" ending. Molly, on the eve of her 18th birthday, discovers that her mother and others want her killed in order to save her from a preordained life as a servant of the devil. This plot is so old and tired that no one wants to even hear it, this let alone see it for at least the 1,000th time. Longtime-producer-turned-first-time director Mickey Liddell has a lot to learn.
This movie plays it so safe that I predict it will be on TV later this month, bypassing any more theater engagements. I guess we're supposed to get a Halloween movie treat every year on Oct 31st--but sadly Molly Hartley is more of a trick. Vacuous, boring, and lifeless it just doesn't get any duller than this-I actually yearned for a commercial to come on. They should hand out remotes or iPods that switch to the movie playing next door. Fortunately out of sight out of mind, The Haunting of Molly Hartley fades pretty quickly.
Starring Haley Bennett, Jake Webber, Nina Siemaszko, Shanna Collins. Director: Mickey Liddell