Movie Reviews

‘The Moth Diaries’: The bore diaries

By Wang DexianMovies - 20 June 2012 3:06 PM | Updated 1:37 PM

‘The Moth Diaries’: The bore diaries

The cherubic Lily Cole is Ernessa, the mysterious transfer student in 'The Moth Diaries'

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Rating: 1 star out of 5

The Cast: Sarah Bolger, Lily Cole, Scott Speedman

The Buzz: The adaptation of the 2002 novel of the same name is directed by Mary Harron, the Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter who worked on the films ‘I Shot Andy Warhol’, ‘American Psycho’ and ‘The Notorious Bettie Page’.

The Story: Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) is the daughter of a famous poet, who has unfortunately killed himself. She enrols into an all-girl boarding school with her friends, including best friend Lucie. Eventually, they meet Ernessa, a new transfer student played by the eerie looking Lily Cole. Ernessa drives a wedge between Rebecca and her friends. As her friends start to leave her through various means, Rebecca starts having an obsession with Ernessa. Thinks: At 82 minutes long, ‘The Moth Diaries’ isn't a very long movie. Unfortunately for it though, we did glance at our watch many times throughout, waiting for its inevitable ending. And while the movie does attempt to tackle a difficult subject topic in Rebecca's suicidal tendencies, the end result is just not very entertaining.

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As a movie, it trudges along at an almost relaxed pace, trying to set up the chills slowly and at a more traditional pace that unfortunately doesn't come through.  The way that Rebecca’s friends get taken away one by one seems ludicrous and even the deaths feel like they don't really matter all;  it's just not very scary.

The main problem of the movie is that the story hinges a lot on the question of whether Ernessa is really a vampire or is Rebecca just imagining things as a result of her obsession and family history. We’ve not read the book, but it does seem that it's the kind of subject matter that works much better on the pages of a book with lots of internalized monologues as compared to film, where internal narration isn't used as often.

Girl...on girl?

And because of the nature of film, most people would tend to assume that Ernessa does exist and isn't a figment of Rebecca's imagination. Additionally, as most of the movie takes place in the school and much of what Rebecca does is just watching Lucie together with Ernessa, get jealous and then proceed to sulk, it results in many of the scenes feeling somewhat oddly paced, repetitive and predictable.

Lily Cole does possess the face to play such the role of Ernessa exuding the anti-social creepiness required of the role. She's pretty much the only scary bit of the movie which isn't saying much of the movie's scariness as a whole.

Although the film deals with the intense emotions of female adolescence – human or otherwise – director Mary Harron (in the most movie spoiler kind of way) pours cold water over it in this effort.

Also armed with Sapphic undertones, jealousy, a rather compelling question and not to mention all the necessary ingredients for a proper vampire thriller – blood, sex (some), death – ‘The Moth Diaries’ has some potential but the subject matter was just too much of a challenge to put on screen. Even its purposed links to the classic 1872 novella ‘Carmilla’ can't save it.

The movie just isn't very entertaining or scary and it certainly could have benefited with a better visual treatment, a bit of character development, a straight-up plot and more carefully crafted scenes.

Well then, there’s always that OTHER vampire movie coming out at the end of the year.

‘The Moth Diaries’ open in theatres 21 June