Am I the only one growing tired of movies about vampires? I used to love watching those eerie, fascinating creatures of the night on the big screen. My favorites? Frank Langella in Dracula and Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire. But rather than feeling thrilled or excited while sitting through The Moth Diaries, I couldn’t help wishing it would be over. This tedium has been slowly creeping up on me within the past two years -- and it’s become stronger with each of the Twilight Saga offerings. Perhaps if I viewed The Moth Diaries earlier, my reaction would have been quite different. As the old saying goes, timing is everything.
Still, at the beginning of the film, there’s very little excitement connected with Brangwyn, an atmospheric boarding school for teenage girls. It seems the school used to be a posh hotel. I mention that fact because it might help explain some of the strange things in store for Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), who has returned to school while still mourning the suicide of her father, a famous poet. Although Rebecca appears happy to see her best friend Lucie (Sarah Gadon), her upbeat mood doesn’t last long. Jealousy takes over when Lucie starts bonding with Ernessa (Lily Cole), a beautiful new student who looks like a Vampire Barbie and acts very mysterious.
Obsessed with Ernessa and worried about the dark spell she’s cast over Lucie, Rebecca becomes convinced the new girl is a vampire -- or, at least, wants her to commit suicide like her father. Is Rebecca hallucinating and a bit off her rocker? Has she been influenced too strongly by the vampire stories taught by her sexy romantic fiction instructor (Scott Speedman)? Or could there be some truth to her fears?
Bolger (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Gadon (Charlie Bartlett), and Cole (The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus) are impressive young actresses. Bolger projects vulnerability and intense distress as Rebecca; Gadon does an excellent job of displaying Lucie’s changing emotions; and Cole makes Ernessa an intriguing character indeed -- but someone you definitely wouldn’t want to meet in the woods on a dark night.
Despite Cole’s fine performance and a couple of eye-popping scenes -- including a very bloody one in the library -- The Moth Diaries lacks sufficient scare power. Consequently, it comes across as a low-grade horror flick. Where is Dracula when we need him?
(Released by IFC Films and rated “R” for some bloody images, sexuality, drug use and language.)
For more information about The Moth Diaries, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.