The Haunting Of Molly Hartley
D+

The Haunting Of Molly Hartley

A lot of freedoms come with turning 18, but there are also downsides, like jury duty and the possibility of compulsory military service. Also, if you're one of the unfortunate chosen ones in the world of The Haunting Of Molly Hartley, you might get pressed into Satanic service, thanks to a Faustian bargain your parents cut years ago. (But, hey, at least you can buy cigarettes.)

That's the situation faced by the eponymous Molly Hartley (played by Haley Bennett as if the movie's real title was RoboWaif) in the days leading up to the big one-eight. Now committed to an asylum, her mother tried to warn her about it, shortly before stabbing her in the chest. After her father decides that moving away from the problem might help, Bennett is forced to figure out why she keeps hearing voices and seeing spooky images while adjusting to a new school in a new town.

This isn't a bad premise for a horror movie, really. Who doesn't feel anxious about leaving childhood behind? Unfortunately, the rote execution snuffs out the spark of inspiration. Director Mickey Liddell gets scares the cheapest way imaginable, creating a world where characters regularly fall victim to fake-out scares and loud noises, courtesy of prankster boyfriends, barking dogs, and, in one particularly silly moment, a roll of magazines falling through a mail slot. It's a horror film better suited for skittish cats than humans.

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