The Haunting of Molly Hartley Parent Guide
Parent Movie Review
Late October begs for the release of yet another teen-oriented horror movie, and 2008 is no exception. The Haunting of Molly Hartley attempts to put the chills into adolescents as they sift through this dismal tale of a high school senior—Molly (Haley Bennett)—who was stabbed by her delusional mother and now appears to have inherited her mom’s collection of mental illnesses. Her father (Jake Weber), hoping to improve the situation, moves his daughter to another home and puts her in a new private school (for many teens, a terrifying event in itself).
But of course the problems don’t end there. Molly still suffers from dreams and hallucinations, not to mention occasional nosebleeds, which does nothing to help her fit in. At first her only friend is an overly enthusiastic Christian (Shanna Collins), but eventually she attracts the gaze of Joseph (Chace Crawford), a young man willing to overlook all of her problems. Also trying to help the girl work through her paranoia is the school psychiatrist, Dr. Emerson (Nina Siemaszko).
Sadly a “good” horror film is difficult to find, and this poor attempt relies on cheap “made-you-jump” setups and spooky scenarios that make those talking skulls on your neighbor’s Halloween doorstep appear more frightening. The performances are lacking, the musical score overdone, and the script is full of over-exaggerated stereotypes, like spoiled rich kids and the aforementioned religious zealots.
While the violence is plentiful and includes some blood effects resulting from hand-to-hand struggles and weapons use, it falls just short of explicit to ensure ratings that will allow the target audience to attend. However, the biggest concern for parents is an implied teen suicide that can’t be taken with the same tongue-in-cheek attitude as the rest of this drivel. The portrayal of a brutal car crash which opens the film and a party scene depicting teens drinking alcohol are not laughing matters either. Language includes moderate and mild profanities, terms of deity and a single sexual expletive.
Families may also be disturbed by themes that dabble in darker matter and have the potential to raise curiosity in the occult. This is especially true when these powerful forces appear to promote positive outcomes to negative decisions. In the end, what started off as a popcorn-munching, b-rate horror flick turns into a more serious study of satanic topics that might give viewers even more reasons to squirm in their seats.Starring Haley Bennett, Chace Crawford. Running time: 83 minutes. Theatrical release October 30, 2008. Updated July 17, 2017
The Haunting of Molly Hartley
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Haunting of Molly Hartley rated PG-13? The Haunting of Molly Hartley is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong thematic material, violence and terror, brief strong language and some teen drinking.
Beyond the movie ratings: What parents need to know about The Haunting of Molly Hartley...
This teen-targeted horror film features plenty of violence, including stabbings and fights resulting in broken bones. In one instance a person is pushed from a landing, falls to the floor below and dies. A teen character attempts suicide by inserting a knife into her chest two times when she is convinced she has been possessed. Another character is assumed dead after an attempted murder by drowning. A violent car accident is depicted and a daughter and father are seen with bloody injuries, then the father moves to stab his daughter with a knife. Many “jump scenes” are included. A teenaged girl is shown in her bra. Teens kiss. A teen boy implies he wants to have sex with a teen girl. Moderate and mild profanities are used infrequently, along with one sexual expletive and terms of Christian deity. Teens are shown drinking alcohol at a party. Teen and adult characters involvement with satanic activities results in positive outcomes. Mental illness and its hereditary implications are discussed.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
The Haunting of Molly Hartley Parents' Guide
Why is the protagonist in many horror films female? How would this movie be different if Molly was a male character?
Parents may want to be prepared to discuss topics surrounding Christian religious doctrine and satanic possession—two topics that are core to the theme of this film.
The most recent home video release of The Haunting of Molly Hartley movie is February 24, 2009. Here are some details…
The Haunting of Molly Hartley materializes on DVD in wide screen, with audio tracks in 5.1 Dolby Surround (English) and subtitles in English and Spanish. Expect to see apparitions (cast and crew members making appearances include Haley Bennett, Shanna Collins, AnnaLynne McCord and Director Mickey Liddell).
Related home video titles:
This teen horror flick is releasing on Halloween. If you are looking for some frightening fun with a few less scare tactics, check our list of Halloween Movie Ideas.
If you’re looking for ghostly tales with high fear and low content, check out The Others, a classic haunted house movie with a great twist and virtually no sex, violence, or profanity|however families sensitive to occult themes (like séances) may want to approach with caution. The Sixth Sense is also sure to give you goose bumps—but beware. The movie includes graphic depictions of fatal injuries.