THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY HARTLEY (2008) Reviews and overview

 

‘Her past is yet to come’

The Haunting of Molly Hartley is a 2008 American supernatural horror feature film directed by Mickey Liddell from a screenplay by John Travis and Rebecca Sonnenshine. The Liddell Entertainment production stars Haley Bennett, Chace Crawford, AnnaLynne McCord, and Jake Weber.

After surviving a brutal attack by her insane mother, teenage Molly (Haley Bennett) is eager to get a fresh start at a new school.

Attracting the attention of one of the school’s most-popular students (Chace Crawford), she thinks she is finally fitting in and getting her life on track but, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Molly learns the horrifying truth about her devilish legacy…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“It doesn’t take a genius to pair a suspenseful soundtrack with quick shots of streaming blood, mumbled ghost whispers, and teens shrieking by the dozen, but for all it’s worth, Liddell lives up to the challenge […] Molly Hartley is dull at worst and surprisingly spooky at best.” Boston Globe

“The story’s a snooze, so the filmmakers punch it up with smash cuts and thunderclaps that turn the most laughably banal items into cheap jack-in-the-box shocks. They’ll make you flinch — but then again, so will most of the dialogue.” Entertainment Weekly

“Tame and inoffensive (unless you’re on the Lord’s side), The Haunting of Molly Hartley is no more than a big-screen lasso for the Gossip Girl and Supernatural demographic.” New York Times

“The only thing keeping the movie from crossing over into unwatchable territory are its above-average performances, as Bennett and her various costars’ better-than-expected work proves effective at basically sustaining the viewer’s interest through the more overtly tedious stretches.” Reel Film Reviews

“Obviously, horror movies don’t need explicit violence to be unsettling or disturbing. I was hoping for an atmospheric ghost story or at least a clever riff on an old theme. Unfortunately, The Haunting of Molly Hartley carefully avoids any potentially interesting or inflammatory turns, and thus could be better titled The Boring of Molly Hartley.” Screen Anarchy

“Collins does all right as the mousy, religious girl and Woodward isn’t bad – they’re just stuck doing by-the-book characterizations with no real depth behind them. The Haunting of Molly Hartley has absolutely nothing going for it. It’s a muddled mess of a movie with little to appeal to its target demographic…” The Video Graveyard

“Overall, the flick is kinda slight and not meaty enough for a feature length movie. (It probably would’ve made for a killer episode of Goosebumps or something.) The awkward title doesn’t do the movie any favors either as what happens to Molly Hartley isn’t exactly a “Haunting” but something more akin to a possession.” The Video Vacuum

Choice dialogue:

Joseph Young: “Books? You’re looking up shit in books? Isn’t that what computers are for?”

Main cast and characters:

  • Haley Bennett … Molly Hartley
  • Chace Crawford … Joseph Young
  • AnnaLynne McCord … Suzie Woods
  • Jake Weber … Robert Hartley
  • Shannon Woodward … Leah
  • Shanna Collins … Alexis White
  • Marin Hinkle … Jane Hartley
  • Nina Siemaszko … Doctor Amelia Emerson
  • Josh Stewart … Mr Draper
  • Ron Canada … Mr Bennett
  • Kevin Cooney … Doctor Donaldson
  • Jessica Lowndes … Laurel Miller
  • Randy Wayne … Michael
  • Jamie McShane … Mr Miller

Release:

The Haunting of Molly Hartley opened theatrically with a PG-13 rating in the USA on October 31, 2008 in 2,652 movie houses. In the USA, a Fox DVD was released on February 24, 2009. A UK DVD was released on June 14, 2010. In July 2018, the film was streamed on Netflix in the USA.

Box office:

The film took $15,418,749 worldwide against a reported budget of $5 million.

Fun Facts:

The students in English class are studying John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Sequel:

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley was released in 2015.