THE MOTH DIARIES (2011) Reviews and overview

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‘It’s hard to keep a secret if you live forever’

The Moth Diaries is a 2011 Irish-Canadian horror feature film written and directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho) and based on a 2002 novel of the same name by Rachel Klein. It stars Sarah Bolger (Emilie), Lily Cole, Sarah Gadon and Scott Speedman.


At an exclusive boarding school for girls, Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), a sixteen-year-old teenage girl, records her most intimate thoughts in a diary.

Two years earlier, Rebecca’s father, a gloomy poet, took his own life by slitting his wrists. Her mother transferred Rebecca to the school, hoping to help her daughter escape the dark memories of her father’s death. With the help of her best friend and roommate, Lucy (Sarah Gadon), and many other girls, Rebecca soon recovered.


However, a mysterious, dark-haired girl named Ernessa Bloch (Lily Cole), has enrolled into the school. Lucy quickly becomes best friends with Ernessa and becomes distant from Rebecca. Ernessa’s presence makes Rebecca feel uneasy. Eerie things start to happen…




“Questions about adolescence, identity, sexuality, passion, and depression are thrown out, but the film doesn’t have any perspective on any of it. Eventually you start to feel like you’re being pestered by the incessant inquiries of a five-year-old. And by the time the end credits roll, you’ll find yourself asking what the point of sitting through any of it was in the first place.” Nathan Adams, Film School Rejects

There’s a tame, very brief lesbian tryst that MAY involve biting, but, you know, some people just do that – we don’t see puncturing, at any rate. People bitch about the Twilights not really being horror; shit, at least we see them transform, and get at least ONE true fight in each film…” Brian W. Collins, Horror Movie a Day


” …it feels more like a TV pilot than a feature film, barely substantial enough to fill up the big screen. Even so, it offers glancing pleasures of the atmospheric kind – the impact is the equivalent of a filmy cobweb brushing against your cheek. It tickles more than it bites.” Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline

“Themes of female bonding, jealousy and smothering possessiveness are dramatized with the same lack of passion that attends the one briefly glimpsed instance of girl-on-girl action. The Moth Diaries has no desire to offend, and to that end, it seems to go out of its way not to raise shivers, even in a blood-soaked hallucination that tackily invokes Brian De Palma’s mean-girls horror classic, Carrie.”

“Between the heavy voiceover narration, the multiple literary lectures (Scott Speedman turns up as the teacher who provides the allusions), and the stilted scenes of Bolger and her friends hanging out, the film plays like TV-movie gothic, plodding along to the expected revelations and bloodlettings.” Scott Tobias, A.V. Club

” …all the cast delivers their dialogue as if their drinks were spiked with roofies, and Harron, clearly off her game, never establishes anything resembling a mood or rhythm here. (Silent-movie flashbacks alone don’t count.) Small moments and Grand Guignol nightmares are both accompanied by bombastic music-cue bursts, while the female-bonding sessions bounce between grrrl-power posturing and generic Gossip Girl cattiness.” David Fear, Time Out New York


Buy DVD:

“The performances of Sarah Bolger and Lily Cole are the linchpins by which this film is made or broken, and both deliver.  Bolger allows us to feel Rebecca’s sadness and confusion, and even though The Moth Diaries is billed as a vampire story, we honestly want Rebecca to reunite with Lucie and have a normal year at school.” Lonely Banshee


Main cast and characters:

Lily Cole … Ernessa Bloch
Sarah Gadon … Lucy Blake
Sarah Bolger … Rebecca
Valerie Tian … Charley
Melissa Farman … Dora
Scott Speedman … Mr Davies

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