Led by British talent Lily Cole, 'The Moth Diaries' is a modern Gothic coming of age story set in a world of obsessive teenage girl friendship. Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), a young girl haunted by her father's suicide, begins a new year at an elite girls' boarding school. Before long, Rebecca's close friendship with the popular Lucy (Sarah Gadon) is tested by the arrival of the dark and mysterious Ernessa (Lily Cole). Lucy quickly falls under Ernessa's spell and becomes emotionally and physically consumed by their intense friendship. Hurt and confused, Rebecca develops a crush on her English teacher, Mr. Davies (Scott Speedman) who is teaching a class in Gothic fiction. As she immerses herself in their assigned reading, the vampire novel Carmilla, Rebecca becomes convinced that Ernessa is a vampire. Mysterious deaths begin to occur and Rebecca is convinced Ernessa is to blame, but when her warnings are dismissed as the result of obsessive jealousy she decides that she must take drastic action to save herself and those around her.
Under the influence of the woman who brought a truly gory and psychopathic novel to the screen (Mary Harron director of American Psycho) I had expected, not great things, but better things than what the Moth Diaries actually had to offer. But with a rather poor narrative (taken from the novel by Rachel Klein) there is only so much any artist could do to turn this paltry story of teenage angst and quasi-lesbianism, into an intriguing or even vaguely frightening teen horror.
Flying on the coattails of the Twilight movies, which it must be said now, I could not stand, the Moth Diaries is a similar tale of sexual tension and vampirism; except this time it takes place in an all girls boarding school and rather than opting for a somewhat masochistic and male controlled relationship the story leans further toward the socially awkward issue of female homosexuality.
Couple all of this with the typical phallic themes of vampirism and the central character’s obsession with the Dracula-esque novel Carmillia, there ought to have been plenty in this movie for me to – excuse the pun – get my teeth into, even if only as an academic. Sadly the film is simply too contrite, the scares too obvious and frequent and the finale too unimaginative that I spent the majority of the film waiting for it to be over.
For those who like Lily Cole and feel in the mood for a bit of adaptation cinema I would far rather recommend the somewhat mediocre Mortal Instruments movie released earlier this summer than a horror movie that’s about as scary as Cabbage