The Haunting of Molly Hartley

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The Haunting of Molly Hartley
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMickey Liddell
Written by
  • Rebecca Sonnenshine
  • John Travis
Produced by
  • Jennifer Hilton
  • Jerry P. Jacobs
CinematographySharone Meir
Edited byZene Baker
Music byJames T. Sale
Distributed byFreestyle Releasing
Release date
  • October 31, 2008 (2008-10-31)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million
Box office$15.4 million[1]

The Haunting of Molly Hartley is a 2008 American supernatural horror film written by John Travis and Rebecca Sonnenshine and directed by Mickey Liddell. The film, starring Haley Bennett, Chace Crawford, AnnaLynne McCord, and Jake Weber,[2] was panned by critics but was a mild commercial success, grossing $15.4 million against a $5 million budget.


The film begins with a teenage girl, Laurel Miller, going into the woods to meet her boyfriend Michael. He gives her an early birthday present, but her father shows up and demands that she leave with him. As they drive home, Laurel tells him that she will be marrying Michael as soon as she turns eighteen. He breaks down and apologizes to her, telling her he can't let her turn 18, then purposely crashes their car. Seeing that she is not dead, he kills her with a broken piece of mirror, saying he couldn't let the darkness take her.

In present day, 17-year-old Molly Hartley is stabbed in the chest by her deranged mother Jane with a pair of scissors. Although she survives, she is haunted in her dreams by the experience. She lives with her father Robert, and her mother is locked up in a mental ward. Her father enrolls Molly in a new school to help with the trauma and start a new life. However, as her eighteenth birthday approaches, Molly has continuing nightmares of her mother's attack. Joseph Young, one of her classmates, attempts to help her; however, she begins to display symptoms of the same psychosis that took control of her mother's life. Molly attends a party at Joseph's house, where his jealous ex-girlfriend tries to attack her. She breaks the girl's arm and leaves the party. She has another hallucination of her mother attacking her and has a panic attack. The next morning she apologizes to Joseph's ex, who says she knows what Molly is.

At home, Molly is cornered by her mother and discovers that she and others want to kill her in order to save her from a preordained life as a servant to Satan. It is revealed that Molly had died as the result of a miscarriage and her parents made a pact with the Devil to save her life. The terms of the agreement were such that the Hartleys would only have Molly until her eighteenth birthday, then she would belong to the Devil. After Jane is accidentally killed, and upon knocking her father out, Molly runs to seek salvation by accepting a baptism by Alexis, who tries to drown her. Alexis accidentally is knocked on her head, which kills her and Molly turns to Joseph for help, only to discover that he is one of them and has set her up.

Dr. Emerson arrives at Joseph's house and tells Molly that she is also to be a servant of the devil. She says Molly can either kill her father to break the pact, or submit. She tries to let her father live and avoid her fate by attempting suicide with a kitchen knife. This attempt is in vain because the clock has already struck midnight.

The film switches to a mental institution, where a doctor is talking to a woman dressed in black, later revealed to be a cold-hearted Molly. Molly's father has now been admitted to the institution; Molly smiles and says she will not speak to him, choosing to move on. She becomes valedictorian of her high school and dates Joseph. She is seen leaving her high school graduation with Joseph in a limousine, after being told by Dr. Emerson (disguised as the school guidance counselor) that they'll "see her soon."



Box office[edit]

The Haunting of Molly Hartley opened theatrically on October 31, 2008, in 2,652 venues, earning $5,423,315 in its opening weekend, ranking number five and second among the weekend's new releases.[3] The film ended its run on February 5, 2009, having grossed $13,559,812 in the domestic box office and $1,858,937 overseas for a worldwide total of $15,418,749.[1] Based on an estimated $5 million budget, the film was a minor box office success.

Critical reception[edit]

The film was widely panned and currently holds a 28/100 rating on Metacritic, based on 10 reviews[4] and a 2% "Rotten" score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 41 reviews, with the site's critical consensus being "The Haunting of Molly Hartley is a rather lifeless horror endeavor, with a pedestrian plot and few scares."[5] Its best review came from the Toronto Star which said "If you get past the retro Nancy Drew title, this is a worthwhile effort." The LA Weekly wrote "From Freestyle Releasing, the self-service distributor that brought you D-War and In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, comes a movie even worse than those two combined."

Frank Scheck for The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a teen-oriented horror opus that wouldn't pass muster on the CW network."[6] Keith Phipps for The A.V. Club gave the film a D+ and said "It's a horror film better suited for skittish cats than humans."[7]

Home media[edit]

Originally independently released by Freestyle Releasing, all ancillary rights reverted to 20th Century Fox upon its DVD release on February 24, 2009, via Fox's home video division, since Fox holds rights to release Freestyle films on DVD. The film was released in Mexico on June 4, 2010, via Quality Films.[8] The UK DVD was released on June 14, 2010.[9]


Although a formal soundtrack was never released, the following songs were used in the film:


A sequel, The Exorcism of Molly Hartley, was released direct-to-DVD on October 9, 2015. The film, directed by Steven R. Monroe, stars Sarah Lind as Molly with a supporting cast of Devon Sawa, Gina Holden, and Peter MacNeill.[10]


  1. ^ a b "The Haunting of Molly Hartley (2008)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. February 6, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  2. ^ Review: The Haunting of Molly Hartley
  3. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for October 31-November 2, 2008". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. November 3, 2008. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  4. ^ The Haunting of Molly Hartley at Metacritic Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes.
  6. ^ Scheck, Frank (October 31, 2008). "Film Review: The Haunting of Molly Hartley". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Phipps, Keith (October 31, 2008). "The Haunting Of Molly Hartley". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Molly Hartley Comes Home This March
  9. ^ UK to Witness The Haunting of Molly Hartley in June
  10. ^ Bloody Disgusting: The Exorcism of Molly Hartley, which arrives on Digital HD October 9

External links[edit]