Set in the Netherlands, Moloch introduces us to Betriek (Sallie Harmsen), a single mother who experienced something quite tragic and unexplainable as a young child. Presently, Betriek enjoys making music with her laptop and violin and works at a local school, assisting with various plays and musicals. Betriek lives with her father and mother in an old, quiet house surrounded by lots of land. For Betriek and her family, things haven’t always been easy, and people within her community claim the family has always been cursed.
Things for Betriek and her daughter seem to be well and peaceful until several strange occurrences happen around them. Firstly, Betriek and her family receive word from the authorities that a mysterious man carrying garbage bags is lurking around the area and digging large holes. Betriek also discovers that an unknown team of professionals have set up various dig sites not far from her home, which could be connected to the mysterious stranger wandering around. The past will soon resurface for Betriek and her family as they also encounter a horrific home invasion linked to an ancient evil that has now returned, seeking payment for an outstanding debt.
Moloch is best described as a slow-burning horror film. Following the same vibes as a modern ghost story, we follow Betriek making various investigations about random events occurring in the present day and questioning major aspects of her youth. Naturally, Betriek is quite protective of her daughter and her parents, who join her in defending their home from various strangers and evil.
I found this film to be visually pleasing, creative and creepy. The atmosphere and tones are quite dark and creepy, perfectly fitting the film’s plot. For the most part, performances are fine, with some of the side characters delivering a slightly stronger and more interesting presence on-screen than the leads. It doesn’t help that the main characters are not always wise in their decision-making or likeable.
As a plot, I found myself fairly invested as the film began. Lots of strange things occur, and not everything on-screen makes sense at first. As Betriek investigates, viewers understand more about evil Moloch and the family’s secrets. However, while my investment started strongly, I found it declined as the film progressed. I found the conclusion slightly vague, and I was left feeling confused with some unanswered questions about the big major reveals and plot twists. Given this outcome, I wasn’t left on a high, but I felt my investment hadn’t been justified or rewarded.
Overall, Moloch delivers well in certain areas as a horror film, such as the visuals, tones, and creativity. Moloch itself is also creepy and haunting to witness. Performances are fine, but I can’t deny that I found side characters more interesting to follow than the leads. The plot begins strong with a great setup of mysteries and unanswered questions, but the more the film went forward, the more uninterested I became. Eventually, the ending left me feeling unimpressed, ungrateful, and carrying a few unanswered questions in my mind.