The Exorcism of Molly Hartley Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by 20th Century Fox
Directed by Steven Monroe
Written by Matt Venne
2015, 122 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on October 20th, 2015
Sarah Lind as Molly Hartley
Devon Sawa as Father John Barrow
Gina Holden as Dr. Laurie Hawthorne
Peter MacNeill as Chaplain Henry Davies
I didn’t think that an exorcism story could be boring, but after the onslaught of possession movies that hit the market since 2012, I’ve seen everything The Exorcism of Molly Hartley could throw at me before many, many, many times. Its recycled ideas and characters that mean nothing and do nothing to make this story stand apart.
Exorcism is a sequel to 2008’s The Haunting of Molly Hartley. In that film, teenager Molly had survived an attack in which her own mother attempted to kill her before she turned 18. She eventually learns it is because she was stillborn, and her mother begged the devil to give her back her daughter and promised him her child’s soul on her 18th birthday for the favor. Her mother was trying to save her from hell, and atheist Molly must find help from the church to save her soul. I haven’t seen that one, but that actually sounds really interesting.
This movie offers the typical fallen hero: Father John Barrow (Devon Sawa) failed in his previous exorcism and was inadvertently responsible for death of the victim. Pleading insanity to avoid real prison, he winds up at a Catholic mental hospital. Now we have the typical sweet girl gone bad: Molly had just turned 24 and is the youngest partner in her firm. She’s a hard worker with good friends, but on the day of her birthday party, she gets wild, takes home two coworkers and has a threesome that ends up with her coworkers dead in the bathtub. Molly hears voices in the walls when the police arrive to investigate the screaming and advises them that the voices helped her kill, so off to the loony bin she goes.
Can we also take a moment to talk about how dated it is using sexuality as a sign of evil? An attractive 24-year-old with a high powered job, a ton of money, and two hot coworkers wants to have sex for her birthday. Please, it’s 2015. If she wanted to do coke off a rhesus monkey and go hang gliding for her birthday, it wouldn’t be that weird.
Anyway, Molly’s one-dimension doctor with no purpose outside of Plot Device decides she’s possessed and Dr. Barrow is the only one with experience who can do the exorcism. Tada: movie.
I will give it the extra half star for great makeup and some fairly good effects. I’m also giving it for the music director giving a little callback to the theme of the 1973 classic, The Exorcist. But that’s where the similarity to the masterpiece ends. This hollow, straight-to-dvd effort doesn’t bother to make the characters relatable or interesting like The Exorcist. It doesn’t even try to address the conflicts of faith and law like the heartbreaking Exorcism of Emily Rose. Frankly, this movie doesn’t care about being any good, and you shouldn’t care enough to see it.