22 July 2012


Today's film review has been written by my lovely other half Dani Riot.

Director: Mary Harron
Writers: Rachel Klein (novel), Mary Harron (screenplay)
Release date: 2011
Genre: Horror/paranormal

The Moth Diaries is the debut novel of Rachel Klein, published in 2002.

At an exclusively girls' boarding school, a sixteen year-old girl records her most intimate thoughts in a diary. The object of her growing obsession is her roommate, Lucy Blake, and Lucy's friendship with their new and disturbing classmate, Ernessa. Around her swirl dark rumors, suspicions, and secrets as well as a series of ominous disasters. As fear spreads through the school and Lucy isn't Lucy anymore, fantasy and reality mingle until what is true and what is dreamed bleed together into a waking nightmare that evokes with gothic menace the anxieties, lusts, and fears of adolescence. At the center of the diary is the question that haunts all who read it, "Is Ernessa really a vampire?" or has the narrator trapped herself in the fevered world of her own imagining?

I'll come clean, I haven't read the book that The Moth Diaries movie was based on, so I have nothing to base my opinion on, as I appreciate that so many people say the movie versions of books are not as good. I should even come clean and say I didn't even know what the story was going to be about when I watched it. Because as a photographer, I watched this film predominantly for the styling… But that's not to say I wasn't pleasantly surprised.

The story is great because it keeps you guessing. None of the characters, especially Ernessa are ever 'outed' as to what they truly are. I really like films that are psychological, leaving it up to the viewer to keep questioning over and over as each element is put into place. Is Ernessa a vampire? Is she a dead girl from years past? Or is it all in Rebecca's head? It's hard to tell, but one things for certain… something strange is going on.

Personally, I don't think the film is long enough, at just under 1 hour 20 minutes, some things look really rushed. At one point two nights of action pass within minutes. Of course there is always the problem of things seeming too dragged out also, but I feel this movie had a lot more scope to learn more about some of the other characters in the story, as it does seem very Rebecca, Ernessa and Lucy centric. There are other fairly main characters we never really learn about, only their interactions with the main three.

Visually, this movie is awesome, I really like the way they mix the modern with the Victorian. It really helps that the boarding school has a history as an old hotel resort, so a lot of the resort is left behind, like the now decaying gardens, and the deteriorating creepy hallways and dorm rooms. But the stand out for me is the way Ernessa's character bounces between the generations, sometimes dressed in modern goth blacks, and then vintage Victorian dresses.

Overall, it's a good movie, something to get your brain working with, and at its length, it's not too taxing either. I have watched this movie twice now, first alone when I just let myself fall into the story, and a second time with Hannah where it threw up discussions and opinions on character and story. So depending on what you want to get from this movie, it's flexible in that way.

The Moth Diaries is a creepy, intriguing and beautifully styled film.

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