Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
February 1st , 2008

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley
Directed by Steven R. Monroe
Written by Matt Venne
Starring Sarah Lind, Devon Sawa, Gina Holden
96 mins

I admit, when I first saw that this movie was a thing, I was surprised. The end of its predecessor--The Haunting of Molly Hartley--seemed rather conclusive, with just a little bit of spin. It didn't seem like quite enough to hang a sequel on, but apparently someone thought it did, and that means "The Exorcism of Molly Hartley" is now a thing.

"The Exorcism of Molly Hartley" follows Molly, now an adult, and still toting around the evil spirit she had at the end of the previous title. This was a particularly potent breed of spirit, sufficiently intelligent to mask the fact that it was even there in the first place. Following its booze-addled, drug-fueled rampage that made Molly bring home a guy and a girl on her 24th birthday and leave both dead in a bathtub, Molly is sent off to the Clovesdale Institute, a mental asylum packed with the mentally disordered of a variety of levels. That makes it a danger to the entire world, and now, one priest is all that stands between Molly, and the rest of the world, and a horror beyond imagination.

I'd call it slow-paced, because it takes a good long while to really set anything up, but it actually does use its pacing pretty well to set things up. It spends a lot of time in setup, and I mean a LOT--better than a third of the movie goes by before anything's really established about why Molly's clearly planned to get herself locked up in mentalhouse stir, so to speak.

Though the pacing in the early going is slow, and it takes us most of the movie to find out why this is anything more than "Molly Hartley's Most Excellent Looney Bin Adventure", but when you do find out, it's actually kind of a shock. Though the twists aren't exactly out of left field, the movie will play its cards so close to the vest that it doesn't particularly matter how long it took. It's still pretty impressive in the meantime.

The ending features some fairly exciting twists that may be a smidge predictable. It's not out of line, though, given the plot as a whole, but you might not be as surprised by it as you'd hoped you'd be.

Special features include your choice of English, Spanish, or French subtitles, previews for "American Horror Story: Freakshow" and "The Pyramid", featurettes surrounding elements of the film like exorcism and the Clovesdale Institute, and a set of director diaries about the film itself.

All in all, I was surprised this movie ever existed to begin with. While its beginnings were a bit slow on the draw, it kept up quite well, and in a lot of ways surpassed its theatrically-released predecessor. That's rare, and that makes "The Exorcism of Molly Hartley" one worth checking out.