Wednesday, August 10, 2016


The Exorcism of Molly Hartley is about a disgraced priest’s attempt to exorcise a young woman who has been possessed by the devil. OR IS IT?

The Exorcism of Molly Hartley, hereafter referred to as Molly Hartley, begins well. Molly, played by the comely Sarah Lind, is at a nightclub party with her friends, celebrating her partnership at a financial firm. Since the movie is called The Exorcism of Molly Hartley, you assume that something is going to happen during the night which will result in the possession of the titular victim, resulting in the eventual title of the film!

When a mysterious and sinister woman joins the party, Molly loses all her inhibitions.

She drinks.

She takes drugs. Is the moral of the story temperance?

She gets very freaky on the dance floor.

You know she's going to be possessed, but which hole does the devil go in?

Molly and company go back to the apartment and you think, well, this will probably be it. But, how’s it going to happen? Mouth to mouth barfing is popular in today's possession movies. Maybe things will heat up and then the mystery girl will barf in her mouth. Just like prom!

But, as everyone gets naked and gets on the bed, the scene cuts to next morning when a hungover Molly awakens alone. While this isn’t as fun as seeing how she got possessed, it leads to the highly entertaining notion of piecing together the shattered memories of a drunken, debauched evening and trying to figure out when you were literally possessed by the devil.

This probably should have been followed up by a really crazy bathroom scene. After all, if a person went on a bender that led to their possession by a demon, you’d expect them to break a seal. Or seven. Well, at some point during the night, Molly killed everyone because she's been possessed by the devil for six years! Huh.

She’s taken to a psych ward run by Catholics, and she grumbles and gurgles and barfs green stuff everywhere. At certain points her demeanor is devilish; at other points, it’s pretty clear the devil is messing with her, like when he has a bug crawl up her nose while she’s sleeping.

So, there’s some tension regarding Molly’s complicity in her possession. Is she a willing vessel? Is she herself satanic? And then that just goes out the window.

Molly Hartley is like going on a blind date, being told by the woman that she wants to take you home and show you everything, and then you get there and it turns out she’s a hoarder, and she literally wants to show you every Thing. And it’s wall-to-wall garbage.

The worst aspect of the movie is when the devil speaks through Molly in the exorcism scene. It’s devil by way of belligerent truck driver. It’s like if Donald Trump were the devil: all bluster, huge promises, and a super weak grasp of the bible “Two Corinthians walk into a bar…”

I haven’t even talked about the priest. Devon Sawa plays Father John Barrow. He’s been acting since he was in Little Giants in 1994, and he has learned nothing! His emotional register is either “Not talking” or “Confused yelling”. But the most amazing part, and this really has nothing to do with acting, is this sequence:

How stupid do you have to be to get bitten by the devil? And what would that DO to you? Just the words “Bit by the devil” are loaded. They could be the title of a horror movie themselves!

You know how he treats his devil bite? 

Freaking hydrogen peroxide! 

Why even have the devil bite him? Why have a devil bite occur if you aren’t going to make it sprout pustules, have the pustules turn into eyes, have the wound grow teeth and become a mouth, and have it recite Satanic gibberish while it attacks the priest?

“And if thy hand offendeth thee, cut it off” right?

No. No. None of that. Just...wash it real good.

The next stupidest thing ever immediately follows the devil bite. I'll make it extra large so you can be maximally perplexed by what appears to involve at least a 'YTVJ'.

I have no idea what that says and neither does the priest! If you're the devil, why write that? Is that any better than writing "HEEEEEY"?

No, this incomprehensible message is a lead-in to the incomprehensible plot twist.


Despite his devil bite, the priest manages to exorcise Molly, pulling a bunch of devil bugs out of her and trapping them in his fancy devil-bug-catcher. He then takes these to his mentor priest, to whom he gives all the devil bugs (Still in the catcher, of course). But while the priest is putting Satan in a vault, Father Barrow notices the priest's Devil Worshipper Almanac sitting open on his coffee table to a picture of the Devil:

The elder priest then uses the cover of his Devil Worshipper Almanac to explain to Father Barrow that the strange letters on Molly's forehead actually spelled 'Leviathan', and that when all the devil bugs feast on Molly's flesh, the devil will be reborn as Leviathan. And then, presumably, accept the RNC's nomination for President of the United States.

But if the devil is a bunch of bugs that turn into a whale, then whose picture is that in the priest's devil book? And why has a bird made a nest on his head?

I will give the movie credit. It does loop back and answer the first question on everybody’s mind. You want to know which hole the devil goes in?

There you go. He crawls in your freaking ear. You would probably go to the doctor’s office and get him cleaned out of there. In the meantime, maybe just put some rubbing alcohol on it.

Questions for Paul:

1. Molly’s case worker, Dr. Hawthorne, sees Molly hovering in her padded cell like an upside-down cross. She enters the cell, gets face to face, and asks “Molly?” What, in your opinion, was her biggest mistake?

PH:  Her biggest mistake?  Probably not saying "Molly?" loud enough.  If you're going to charge in there and go toe-to-toe with the flying possessed girl, you shouldn't be timid.  Nope, she should have yelled "MOLLY!" directly into Molly's earhole, preferably followed by a "Wazzup!"

2. If the mysterious girl at the beginning of the movie wasn’t the devil, then who was she?

PH:  No clue.  Maybe they knew each other from spin class or church or something.  Oh wait, probably not church.  So spin class.  

3. Molly’s grades got way better after she got possessed. How did the devil help her study?

PH:  Flashcards and motivational speeches.  "You've got to study, my little hellflower, so that you can pass the New York bar and get a decent career. . . . I KNOW you're planning on ushering me into the physical plane and bringing about armaggeddon in a few years, but what then? . . . No, for the last time, you can't just hang at my place for the rest of eternity. . . . Because I ain't paying your loan debt, that's why! . . . No, honey, we've talked about this, you carry student loan debt forever, FOREVER, do you hear me?"

4. What if a frog eats a devil bug? 

PH:  If it crosses a street full of traffic and a river full of logs and crocodiles beforehand, then 200 points.

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