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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Explores the nature of belief and the idea of whether children should have to pay for their parents' mistakes. Some discussion of the nature of madness.
Positive Role Models
The lead character is unknowingly part of a Satanist plot to find a host body for the Devil. A supporting character speaks of her own relationship with Jesus Christ, and the lead character goes to her for salvation when the plans for her life become known to her.
Violence & Scariness
A character drives dangerously as part of a suicide attempt (with another passenger in the car); scuffling and fights; a girl's arm is sprained in a fight; a character falls over a railing to her death, landing on a knife she was brandishing. Attempted murder by drowning. Multiple stabbings, with some blood -- including some self-inflicted wounds. A scary, mutilated ghoul is on screen for a split-second. Some hospital/surgical imagery.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing; cleavage is revealed; the lead character strips down to her bra while changing.
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Some harsh language, including multiple uses of "s--t," "hell," "damn," and one non-sexual use of "f--king."
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Products & Purchases
Only one brand (Ford, on a car's hood) visible on screen.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character is seen extinguishing a cigarette, but not smoking it; teens drink what is presumably alcohol at a party, despite being underage.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens may be drawn to this horror movie by co-star Chace Crawford, who's part of the cast of Gossip Girl. There's some violent, scary stuff, but it's also mostly bloodless (particularly when compared to movies like the Saw franchise) -- more blood is seen from the lead character's stress-induced nosebleeds than from any of the movie's stabbings, assaults, and murders. The film includes a lot of religious imagery and plot points -- characters read Paradise Lost and the Bible, the lead character is baptized in an effort to remove the diabolical influences she's experiencing, and more. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Haunting of Molly Hartley is a modest horror-thriller; in fact, if anything, it's too modest, relying on music cues and cheap surprises instead of actual suspense. Bennett (last seen as a Britney-esque teen pop star in the comedy Music and Lyrics) is a charming, easy-to-watch lead actress, but she's not given much to work with here, stumbling from plot point to plot point with a dazed, slightly upset look on her face. In an age when TV shows like Reaper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and (more explicit and violent) films like Teeth and The Faculty have wrung horror out of the classes, clashes, and cliques of high school, The Haunting of Molly Hartley feels curiously constrained, as if the filmmakers didn't have the brains, bravery, or budget to kick things up a notch.
Director Mickey Liddell does manage to work in a few moments of actual suspense: Is the nice, born-again girl (Shanna Collins) in Molly's classes really not so nice? Is the handsome smile of the school's cutest boy (Chace Crawford) hiding a secret? But the film's finale is so shabby -- and so sudden -- that the film ends not with a bang but a whimper. The Haunting of Molly Hartley isn't too violent, isn't too scary, and isn't too over-the-top; unfortunately, it isn't too memorable, either.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate