31 Days of Horror Movie: The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008; PG-13; 82 min)

I was worried this was going to be a standard teen horror movie, but was happy to discover it was suspenseful, with lots of quick-cut scares and tension. The end, however, was a disappointment, especially the final 5-10 minutes and what I consider a cop-out twist in the final scene.

Molly Hartley and her father are looking to start over. Molly’s mother is in a mental institution for trying to stab Molly in the chest with scissors to prevent her from turning 18 (“It’s coming for you…I can’t let the darkness take you” and all that).

So Molly enrolls in a new prep school, complete with all the yuppy mean-girl cliques and dreamy, athletic boys. She is befriended by a very religious girl who is always trying to “save” her. Molly also is hearing voices, has various hallucinations, especially ones involving her mother trying to kill her, and suffers from some physical ailments as well.

Meanwhile, Joseph, the dreamy boy in Molly’s classes, tries to get to know her better. On the night before Molly turns 18, Joseph throws a party while his parents are out of town (movie parents are always conveniently out of town, it seems) and invites Molly. She sneaks out to attend the party, but soon realizes this may be a very long night when her mother, and others with a different agenda, try to seal her fate once and for all.

  • Top Scare: Two involving animals
  • Heartbeats: 3 3/4 out of 5
  • Gore factor: 1 1/2 out of 5
  • Suspense factor: 3 3/4 out of 5
  • Recommended for: 13 and up

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