The Haunting of Molly Hartley

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

After her mother tries to kill her, 17-year-old Molly Hartley moves down to Georgia from Boston to start a new life from herself. Unfortunately, when she was young, her parents made a Deal with the Devil to save her life, on the condition that, on Molly's 18th birthday, the Devil will claim her in return. And Molly's 18th birthday is coming right up...

Released in 2008, this teen thriller combined '80s-style "Satanic Panic" fears with a Teen Drama coating. It was largely skewered by critics for its formulaic and clumsy plot, Bad Acting, and reliance on cheap scares, and barely made a dent at the box office.

Tropes used in The Haunting of Molly Hartley include:
  • Adults Are Useless: Your dad refuses to believe what's going on until it's too late, your mom is locked up in an insane asylum, and your guidance counselor is trying to recruit you into a Satanic Cult.
  • Alpha Bitch: Susie.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Molly's dad simply refuses to believe that the cult is coming for his daughter, even though he made a Deal with the Devil to save her. And how did he not notice that Molly's guidance counselor at school was the exact same person who acted as the Devil's agent in the deal?
  • Chekhov's Gun: Alexis mentions early on that her grandmother works at a hospital. The hospital in question turns out to be the asylum where Molly's mom is locked up. Alexis learns about Molly's curse through her grandmother, and proceeds to try and kill her.
  • Deal with the Devil: Molly's parents made this in order to prevent their premature baby from dying. In return, on Molly's 18th birthday, a Satanic cult will come to claim her as one of their own.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Both Molly's mom and Alexis realized that Molly would turn evil, and tried to kill her to stop it.
  • Evil Overlooker: Joseph standing front and center on the poster.
  • Face Heel Turn: Alexis tries to kill Molly after finding out about her curse. This Face Heel Turn is later subverted by a second, bigger one: Molly's, proving that Alexis was right in trying to kill her.
  • The Fundamentalist: Alexis, one of the saner (or at least, more sympathetic) examples. Even her trying to kill Molly was pretty damn well justified, considering what happens after.
  • Gainax Ending: Molly joins the Satanic cult, despite all indication during the rest of the movie that she was trying to escape from it.
  • Genre Shift: The first half of the movie entertains the idea that nothing supernatural is happening, and that Molly might be going insane. By the end of the film, this is out the window.
  • Haunted Heroine: Guess who?
  • Hey, It's That Gal/Guy!: Cora Corman is targeted by the Devil, Joe DuBois is her dad, and Nate Archibald becomes Cora's boyfriend by the end of the film.
  • Holier Than Thou: Alexis.
  • Jump Scare: Pretty much the film's stock method of building suspense.
  • Mirror Scare: Played painfully straight.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The movie ends with Molly now stuck working for the devil, apathetically dismissing her father as a disturbed mental patient, and then a graduation speech at high school, with happy music played over the last scene and credits.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: Taken to extremes. See Arbitrary Skepticism.
  • The Mole: Joseph and the guidance counselor turn out to be part of the Satanic cult that's trying to claim Molly.
  • Villain Protagonist: Molly at the end.
  • Wild Teen Party