Review: THE HAUNTING OF MOLLY BANNISTER (2018)

The Haunting of Molly Bannister Poster

MJ Dixon (Pandamonium) is back with another tale from his Mycho universe, The Haunting of Molly Bannister. Rather than the slasher films I’m familiar with from Mycho this is a bit of supernatural horror. The kind that involves creepy dolls and creepy kids to be more exact.

Christmas 2014, home video of the Bannister family opening presents. Molly (Tiana Rogers, Slasher House 2, Molly) gets a dolly that neither mother Mary (Susan Lee Burton, Edge of Extinction) or father Kenneth (Grant Kempster, King of Crime) remember buying her. She loves it, but her sister Sherry (Chloe Badham, Mask of Thorn) is creeped out by it, and with good reason. By the end of the night, she’s dead.

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Six months later, her parents have split up and Molly is acting very strangely. Her mother is trying to get her help but so far the doctors haven’t been able to do anything. Oldest daughter Dotty (Emmeline Hartley, Dragon Kingdom, Hellriser), like her father, realizes what’s really happening. But who is going to believe a doll can possess or even kill people?

Having appeared in the short Molly and the feature Slasher House 2, The Haunting of Molly Bannister serves as Molly’s origin story. Which could have made an interesting film. Unfortunately, it suffers from a lack of budget, and even worse, a lack of ideas.

Much of the time The Haunting of Molly Bannister is yet another one of those films where the evil doll is supposed to be scary despite the fact we never see it move. It just keeps turning up places it shouldn’t be. That isn’t scary. The one scene where it attacks someone it’s obviously being thrown at them. That isn’t scary either, in fact, it’s funny.

Towards the end of the film, the doll occasionally takes on a giant and more mobile form (Jake Kempster) that is creepy looking. But it’s too little too late. As is the last-minute revelation that really isn’t much of a surprise. But lack of surprise is the curse of most prequels and origin tales. After all, it’s hard to be surprised when you know how the story has to end.

Despite a few good moments and some Argentoesque lighting, The Haunting of Molly Bannister never rises above the level of Dolls or Annabellum: The Curse of Salem.

The Haunting of Molly Bannister is currently available on iTunes. It will be available in the UK from 101 Films on DVD and streaming June 22nd You can check the Mycho Entertainment Group website or the film’s Facebook page for updates.

Jim Morazzini

Movie buff, gym rat and crazy cat guy

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