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TIFF11: Born Out of “Blair Witch,” Eduardo Sanchez’s “Lovely Molly” is an Evolved Horror Flick

TIFF11: Born Out of "Blair Witch," Eduardo Sanchez's "Lovely Molly" is an Evolved Horror Flick

The opening of Eduardo Sanchez’s hopeful comeback, “Lovely Molly,” seems to be a nod to “The Blair Witch Project,” the smash breakthrough that he co-wrote and directed with Daniel Myrick more than a decade ago. The title character (Gretchen Lodge) videotapes herself in close-up, weeping hysterically about something having gone terribly wrong, which was beyond her control. She’s not in the woods (that comes later) and “Blair Witch”’s Heather Donahue never tried to slash her own throat with a kitchen knife in that film’s iconic moment, but this starting scene certainly conjures up and then springs from the past horror.

For a few extra minutes the film appears to be yet another entry into the docu-style, “found footage” subgenre Sanchez helped popularize. Going back to the start of the story, we’re shown the marriage of Molly and Tim (Johnny Lewis) in the form of a wedding video. But then, surely to plenty viewers’ happiness, Sanchez switches to the more conventional third-person mode of cinematic storytelling, as we watch what happens to this poor couple after the honeymoon’s over. The film itself is like a metaphor for the success and legacy of “Blair Witch.”

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