Evil is as evil does, which makes former Everwood
producer Liddell and co-screenwriters John Travis and Rebecca Sonnenshine the Beelzebubs of the banal thanks to this frighteningly dull updating of The Omen
and Rosemary's Baby
for the Gossip Girl
set. Seriously, given the possibilities for high school evils (mortal, venal, and pretty much any other kind you can think of), it's downright depressing how uninspired The Haunting of Molly Hartley
turns out to be. (Check out Brick
, Rian Johnson's teen-angst updating of the classic film noir genre, if you think witty recontextualizing is beyond the grasp of today's filmmakers.) A collection of low-grade shock cuts strung together with possession-film signifiers that were already creaky by the time Ovidio G. Assonitis' Exorcist
knockoff Beyond the Door
arrived in theatres 3½ decades ago does not a passable horror film make. Newcomer Bennett, looking like the mythical soul of the American teen (post-WB), is the titular teen who has more than her share of blemishes for a high school senior. Granted, they're not on her peaches-and-cream skin. They're more along the lines of family skeletons dangling in the ancestral closet. Her mom's been institutionalized after trying to eviscerate her daughter with a pair of sewing shears (and, as played by Hinkle, she's no Piper Laurie), her father (Weber, of the Dawn of the Dead
remake) has removed her to an exclusive private school, and her new schoolyard BFF Alexis (Collins) is – good lord!
– a born-again Christian. Then, too, there are all the creepy adults wandering around in various states of foreshadowing, including former West Wing
-er Siemaszko as a guidance counselor nearly as creepy as Freaks and Geeks
' hippified Mr. Rosso. The key to the horrors at hand appears to lie with Molly's fast-approaching 18th birthday, or so the thin, thinner, thinnest strand of storyline would have you believe. The real
shocker is how hellishly yawn-inducing this utterly pointless and forgettable Haunting
turns out to be. It's enough to make you scream.