Review: The Moth Diaries

A strange new girl named Ernessa arrives at school. She begins to come between best friends Lucie and Rebecca. People start to die. Sinister forces appear to be afoot.

There’s a lot of unnecessary and bizarre foreshadowing and symbolism. A single drop of blood red colored fingernail polish dramatically falls, etc…  All of it is about as subtle as a hurricane.

The film draws parallels between its own characters and the gothic tale Carmella. Like most of the film, the references hit the viewer squarely over the head, to ensure you get all of the film’s nuances.  

I’m not sure if it was intended, but there was a lot of parallels to Suspiria; the all female boarding school, the occult elements, the use of color to tell a story. But, The Moth Diaries falls far short of even a bad Argento film.’

The Moth Diaries tries to be dark and moody. It succeeds on the surface, but since the film has no depth, the building of atmosphere is not really necessary.

The whole film was very generic. All of the themes in the film have been previously explored, and in much better ways. When I finished watching The Moth Diaries, I was absolutely positive that I’d just wasted an hour and twenty-two minutes.

The Moth Diaries is based on a book that predates Twilight by a few years. But, that didn’t stop the filmmakers from trying to play to the now slightly more mature fans of the Twilight franchise. The film plays out a little bit like a more grown up version of Twilight.

The film is written and directed by Mary Harron. Unfortunately, she brings none of the magic to the script that she did when adapting American Psycho for the screen.

The scares are pretty tame. It’s light on gore. There’s almost no on screen violence, with the exception of two violent sequences in the final moments of the film.  Most of the other violent scenes are either off screen or implied.

It’s slow burn. But, it doesn’t serve to benefit the film. In fact, the biggest complaint I have with the The Moth Diaries is the chief complaint I’ve had with many of the films I’ve watched, recently.  It takes too long to get where it’s going. Heavy back story is a detractor unless it’s well warranted by likeable characters that can carry the front end of the movie. Not surprisingly, none of the characters in The Moth Diaries were likeable. They are all two-dimensional.

None of the characters are well played, but Lily Cole’s performance as Ernessa is the worst of the bunch. It’s overacted and impossible to take seriously.

The film elicited no emotional reaction from me, one way or the other. With no attachment to the characters and no real interest in the story, it leaves its viewer highly apathetic. 

The twist ending was predictable. It was repeatedly hinted at and alluded to, throughout the film. It’s nothing more than a variation on a twist that we’ve seen too many times before.

There are a few things about the film that are well done, but when all of the parts are put together, they don’t function efficiently.  Working in the film’s favor, the cinematography had a fairly polished look to it. The outdoor scenes were well shot. There’s none of the choppy, bouncy camerawork usually associated with low budget filmmaking. The score worked well to compliment some of the scenes. The final scene of the film, in particular, was paired with very fitting music.

The Moth Diaries will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on August 28th. But, unless you are on the hunt for a slightly less juvenile Twilight-esque type of film, take a pass on this one. 


Marvel and DC