Blu-ray Review: The Exorcism of Molly Hartley

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This direct-to-video horror film is a sequel to the 2008 The Haunting of Molly Hartley. That’s probably all anyone need know before deciding whether to give 90 minutes over to the uninspired The Exorcism of Molly Hartley. The earlier film was an extremely modest theatrical success, though merely a blip on the horror film radar. The new one functions on its own, playing as a combination homage/rip-off/unintentional parody of the exorcism horror subgenre. The Blu-ray cover boldly proclaims “unrated,” and indeed there is plenty of efficiently bloody, gory gruesomeness and a splash of soft core eroticism to boot. But there’s nothing interesting about the film, except perhaps how much star Devon Sawa seems to be channeling Aaron Paul.

Molly Hartley (Sarah Lind) is possessed and it’s up to Father Barrow (Sawa) and psychiatrist Dr. Laurie Hawthorne (Gina Holden) to get the demon out of her. The filmmakers seem to have been hired specifically for their track records of cranking out direct-to-video sequels of far better movies. Screenwriter Matt Venne is responsible for White Noise 2: The Light, Fright Night 2, and now this. Director Steven R. Monroe has I Spit on Your Grave 2 to his name.

This new film is almost beyond criticism really because it does exactly what Monroe and Venne were hired to do. The Exorcism of Molly Hartley has the disgraced, self-doubting priest we’ve seen before. It has the pea soup vomit. It has the disbelief from the medical community that demonic possession can even be real. I can’t recommend the film, but if you’re looking for something slickly produced (the makeup effects are admittedly effective) and full of gore, but with absolutely nothing else going for it, then I guess this might fit the bill.

20th Century Fox’s Blu-ray offers proof that these days even the cheapest quick-buck flicks can look and sound great. The 1080p transfer of Jonathon Cliff’s (Heroes Reborn: Dark Matters) very competent cinematography is augmented by a flawless DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix.

As for special features, here’s a surprise: “Exorcism: Beyond One Truth” is a 20-minute documentary about exorcism that is well produced, informative, and easily the best thing about the entire Blu-ray package. Minor features include “Clovesdale Instituation: Classified Footage from Security Cameras” and “Director Diaries,” both or which are under five minutes. The Blu-ray package includes a Digital HD copy.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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