Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Personalized picks at your fingertips

Get the mobile app on iOS and Android

Parents' Guide to

The Haunting of Molly Hartley

By James Rocchi, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

High school horror flick more dreary than spooky.

Movie PG-13 2008 86 minutes
The Haunting of Molly Hartley Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+
ok not the best

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (19 ):

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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: October 31, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: February 23, 2009
  • Cast: Chace Crawford , Haley Bennett , Jake Weber
  • Director: Mickey Liddell
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: ShowBiz Studios
  • Genre: Horror
  • Run time: 86 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: strong thematic material, violence and terror, brief strong language and some teen drinking
  • Last updated: June 20, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

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