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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Moth Diaries


Starring: Sarah Bolger, Sarah Gadon, and Lily Cole
Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 16 September 2013

Rebecca attends a private school, sent there following the suicide of her father, who she found in the bath, having cut his wrists. She has found solace and renewal in her friendship with Lucy. But all this changes when a new girl arrives at school. The enigmatic Ernessa soon moves in between Rebecca and Lucy, she doesn’t eat, walks alone at night and her room is full of moths. Rebecca is soon convinced that Ernessa is a vampire and as the bodies mount up she decides to do something about it...

The Moth Diaries (2011 - 1 hr, 18 min, 56 sec) is a supernatural film directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho (2000)) adapted by Harron from Rachel Klein’s novel.

Another film for the Twilight generation, Diaries is neither as impressive as American Psycho, nor is it on par with the best vampire films. Although Ernessa is never referred to as a vampire, her look is a dead giveaway. The film lacks subtly, even the supposed vampire, Ernessa, is made to look like Wednesday from The Adams Family.

Harron has tried to create an atmospheric piece, with the dreamlike quality of Picnic at Hanging Rock, but is unable to create the ethereal quality which set that film apart. It is lovely to look at, but Declan Quinn’s wonderful cinematography is wasted on such a slight plot.

Nothing is really developed regarding Rebecca’s experience of her father’s suicide and there is a lost opportunity as the film barely explores the idea that this may have unhinged her, making her think that one of her classmates is a vampire. The option to think that Rebecca is actually crazy would have given the film the edge it so very much lacks.

There is the subtext of the girl's burgeoning sexuality, although this is played clumsily having the one male teacher making a pass at Rebecca as well as her finding Lucy in a compromising position with Ernessa. The film continually hints at a lesbian undercurrent without developing the idea, once again the film would have been better as a crazy lover's revenge story.

Even the school is odd, there is not a single unattractive girl attending and let’s face it the actresses are all a lot older than the characters they are portraying. That said the actresses do what they can with the script and for the most part create characters which you can empathise with, it all hints at a film that should have been miles more interesting.

The film is presented with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio track, but due to the nature of the film you could probably have got away with a 2.0 track. There are English subtitles, but that’s it as the disc contains no extras.

In the end the film disappoints as it could and should have been so much more given the talent involved.


Charles Packer

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