Sunday, November 29, 2009

Worst of the Worst: #34, The Haunting of Molly Hartley

It is often interesting to try to put yourself in a film maker's head and ask what they were thinking when they make a movie. In Inglourious Basterds, was Tarantino trying to make revenge porn or was he trying to make a social statement about our thirst for violence? In A Serious Man, were the Coen Brothers trying to tell a modern-day Job story or were they trying to comment on the Jewish psyche?

And so, I find myself wanting to ask this of the people behind The Haunting of Molly Hartley, #34 on Rotten Tomatoes' list of the worst movies of the decade: "What were you thinking?"

The stars of 90210 and Gossip Girl join to bring you a movie that would have more appropriately been a TV movie on the CW. Instead, the script has a few curse words -- but absolutely no blood -- and so it was somehow released in theaters. To be fair, it actually turned a profit because of its very low budget. What was the audience thinking?

Here's the plot: If a baby is stillborn, a minion of Satan approaches the parents and says they can save the baby, but the child must be turned over to Satan on their eighteenth birthday. Molly Hartley is such a child. Her mother, realizing what she agreed to, tries to kill Molly and goes into an insane asylum. Molly finally learns the truth of her circumstance and tries to kill herself, but it's too late and she becomes evil.

Full disclosure: I chose to watch this movie because I wanted the shortest one I could find and, at 85 minutes, this fit the bill. The thing about this movie and the plot above is that for the first 60 minutes of the movie, all you know is that Molly's mother tried to kill her. You learn the rest in a ten-minute span at the very end. Not only that, but other than Adrianna from 90210 getting killed in a meaningless flashback at the very beginning, there is no death or action until this last flurry at the end. In other words, nothing happens for the first hour of this hour-and-twenty-five minute movie. I mean it, nothing!

I could go on about how bad the acting is, but all you need to know is what I just said. Nothing happens for over two-thirds of the movie. One of the worst-paced films I can remember. They could have made this a twenty-minute short film and it would have been fine plot-wise. So again, I have to ask the film makers: What the hell were you thinking?

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