Old 04-20-2012, 11:55 PM
Mary Harron's The Moth Diaries

Here's the link to the published version of my review in my column at The Richmond Examiner:



The Moth Diaries (2012)

With the treatment that vampires have been getting in books and film recently, you can imagine that the likes of Bram Stoker, F.W. Murnau, and Bela Lugosi must be spinning in their graves. The biggest culprit has been Stephenie Meyer, whose “Twilight” books have turned vampires into a laughingstock. These were subsequently adapted into terrible films, a trend which continues here with the adaptation of Rachel Klein’s own vampire novel, “The Moth Diaries.”

The film opens with Rebecca (Sarah Bolger) returning to an all-girls boarding school where she is reunited with her best friend Lucie (Sarah Gadon). When a new girl, Ernessa (Lily Cole), arrives and begins to spend a lot of time with Lucie, Rebecca not only becomes a bit jealous, but from the girl’s creepy behavior, she also begins to suspect that Ernessa may have a dark secret. However, all she has are suspicions, that is, until the night she witnesses Ernessa walk right through a closed window.

That’s as far as the plot gets, spending copious amounts of time with Rebecca trying to figure out what Ernessa’s secret is as her best friend slowly has the life sapped out of her. At the same time, Klein, who adapted her own book, feels the need to spell it out for the audience by having Rebecca studying vampires in her literature class. Then when she does figure out that something bad is happening between Ernessa and Lucie, we get the obligatory section of no one believing her and instead just thinking that she’s jealous.

All of this makes for a film that feels like it’s far too stretched out, which, even for a film that runs less than 80 minutes, makes for a very tedious sit. With the plot not moving forward very far, the pacing becomes completely shot. It was in desperate need of something to shake it up throughout as it felt as though it was at a standstill for pretty much the entire film. Perhaps Klein felt that suspicion of a vampire would be enough to replace plot development. Sadly, she was mistaken.

What makes “The Moth Diaries” an even bigger disappointment was that it was directed by Mary Harron, who directed the great “American Psycho.” Since then, she unfortunately hasn’t really done anything of note, a streak which continues with the latest entry in her filmography. Apparently she wanted to return to her dark roots, but this certainly wasn’t the way to do it. If the book is as bland as the film, then it should have been painfully obvious that this was a bad choice.

As far as vampires go, this film doesn’t even take advantage of the lore. It’s almost entirely bloodless aside from a nosebleed and a dream/vision where blood is pouring from the ceiling. Nor does it take the opportunity to create any suspense using the vampire, something that the film needed in order to get itself out of its sluggish pace. This is basically another vampire film that has no bite.

The film leads up to one of the most anticlimactic endings I’ve seen in quite some time. This was the filmmakers’ chance to go out with a bang and make it at least partly worth having sat through the slow, bland story up to that point. However, in another bad decision, they decided not to go that direction. There’s no struggle, no attempt to put any kind of excitement into the film, just an overly-simplified conclusion that will leave you shaking your head at the lack of thought and creativity that went into it.

“The Moth Diaries” just ends up feeling like a desperate attempt to cash in on the vampire craze created by “Twilight,” and taking a cue from how bad those films have been, they figured that the film wouldn’t even have to be good to make a decent amount of money. Apparently the studio knows they have a dud on their hands as, according to IMDb, it’s only going to be released in three countries total, two of which will be a limited run. Not surprising for a film that’s this dead. 1.5/4 stars.
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:11 AM
thanks dear this is nice i like it..
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