Very well made mysterious film about life at an upscale, private girls' school in the USA, and all of the strange and scary things that happen as the twisting story unfolds. Beautifully filmed in a Gothic style old school building which is set in glorious, verdant grounds and gardens. Hauntingly good and full of supernatural thrills and chills. Highly recommended for those who like this genre.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Not a very original plot but done in a way to keep it interesting. Teen girls will like it. I thought it was OK. I say B-.June 12 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
"It's like she's invading my mind, even when I'm alone I can't escape her." Rebecca (Bolger) is ready for her new school year to start. After the death of her father she is grateful to get back to her friends. She is surprised when a new girl, Ernessa (Cole) shows up. What starts off as a new girl trying to make friends turns into something much more dangerous and Rebecca becomes suspicious of her when her friends turn up missing, or dead. I will start by saying that this movie is overall not that bad. I also once again have to say that I'm pretty sure I am not the audience this movie was made for. This is a horror movie about an all girls high school. Being a 30 year old man I couldn't relate. The movie did have an overused idea, but pulled it off in a way that made it feel interesting. There are some pretty creepy parts in this and Lily Cole is perfect in this role but I had a hard time getting into it. If you like movies like "The Roommate" you will probably like this one as well. Overall, not a bad movie at all. I was entertained but if I was a teen girl I probably would have liked it more. I give it a B-
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A mixture of various horror plot themes and imagesFeb. 15 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The film tries to explore life and death through a mixture of horror plots and images. Some of these themes are metamorphosis, hence the moth theme (The idea of a butterfly or moth as the soul is found in traditional cultures of every continent) and ghost story - the soul touched by divine love, but which, by reason of the mistakes made, must undergo some tribulations before having access to happy immortality. Other horror theme works it draws upon are from Sheridan Le fanu's Carmilla (Ernessa selects exclusively female victims, though only becomes emotionally involved with a few. Ernessa has nocturnal habits, but is not confined to the darkness. She has unearthly beauty and able to change her form and to pass through solid walls and sleeps in a coffin), shades of Poe's William Wilson (theme of the double who haunts Rebecca and leads her to insanity and also represents her own insanity) and Henry James' Turn of the Screw (the reality of the ghost and the sanity of Rebecca). And like all three works the film has a framing introduction and subsequent first-person narrative to convince or even manipulate the viewer.
A lot goes on here in this film and is open to different interpretations lending an unsettling ambiguity to the story trying to be both a horror film and a psychological study. Is Ernessa really a vampire or is this all in the troubled mind of Rebecca? Why do Ernessa and Rebecca share so many similar traits - even the name Ernessa appears to be a pseudo anagram of Rebecca? [Why does Ernessa tempt Rebecca with thoughts of suicide? Why is the teacher Mr Davies, who admires Rebecca's late father (who committed suicide) and provides a provocative father substitute for the young girl, so interested in the sixteen-year-old Rebecca? Why is Rebecca afraid of sex - is it a fear of puberty, lesbianism, or something much more sinister?
All three actresses convey an ethereal beauty in particular Lily Cole with her imposing height and childlike face. The blu-ray image is crisp and detailed nicely reproducing the cinematography's mostly icy colour palette and sets which are suitably creepy and the blood-raining school library's Carrie-esque scene is especially vivid.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Moth DiariesJan. 31 2013
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When the new girl in school starts to come between Rebecca and her best friend, Lucy, she begins to suspect that there is something far more sinister behind their relationship. Rachel Klein's modern update on traditional Gothic storytelling is brought to life in Mary Harron's screen adaptation of THE MOTH DIARIES, from 2011. Rebecca and the other girls transpose their teenage anxieties like anorexia, depression, suicide, and sexuality on to their ghostly classmate as a means of dealing with their internal struggles. While Ernessa may not be seen physically drawing the blood from her victims, her presence at the school certainly saps the other girls of their strength and happiness, leading them in to despair. The lesbianic undertones that are present in the plot also draw strongly from the classic tale of Carmilla, which is frequently referenced throughout the girls' schoolwork. Harron takes a timely approach in developing the characters and mood of the picture, but unfortunately, her deliberate pacing begins to wear during the long periods of inaction and leaves the audience feeling deprived as the film draws to its anticlimactic ending. Still, we are left on a positive note, having grown with Rebecca as she overcomes her pain and loss to find a renewed strength in herself. THE MOTH DIARIES ultimately falls short of becoming a modern classic, but it does provide another unique and emotionally charged vampire tale in the same vein as LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.
-Carl Manes I Like Horror Movies
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Supernatural Silliness And Sapphic Subtext Can't Salvage This Exercise In Tween AngstAug. 30 2012
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Feminist filmmaker Mary Harron has made some bold and provocative choices in past films such as "I Shot Andy Warhol," "American Psycho" and "The Notorious Bettie Page." She is not afraid to push things to the edge of reason and watch them topple over with an in-your-face glee. So I'm shocked by the tepid and somewhat unfocused "The Moth Diaries." The film seems to be borne of some interesting ideas, but it never effectively builds in intensity. The picture is lovely, to be sure, with breathy performances, gauzy flashbacks and ethereal fantasy sequences--but does it amount to much? I didn't think so. Pretty, but empty. That's the first phrase that popped into my head as the credits started to roll. Taking a popular young adult novel by Rachel Klein, Harron's choices here appear content to ape the underdeveloped emotions inherent in the Twilight saga as opposed to creating something that felt distinct or unique.
Set in an all-girl boarding school, "The Moth Diaries" opens with an introduction to Rebecca (Sarah Bolger). A troubled girl rebuilding her life after a tragedy, she is really getting back into the swing of things with a close knit group of friends. A creepy new student (Lily Cole) starts to worm her way into the group and strange occurrences abound. Is Rebecca justifiably suspicious of the new girl? Or might it just be jealousy? After all, she is losing her best friend's devotion to this exotic new rival. With vampire allusions aplenty and some seemingly supernatural sightings, we're left to wonder what is real and what might be the imaginings of the increasingly distraught Rebecca. The solution, when it arrives, is neither particularly shocking or even interesting. As the entire film unfolds in one monotonous dimension, no suspense is ever really derived from the tale.
I think the fundamental issue is that lack of adequate character development. All of the girls (and even the staff) start to be affected, but I wasn't invested in any of them. As such, it became hard to care about their respective fates. It doesn't help that the picture has a sporadic (and deadly wooden) narration by Bolger or that a poorly handled subplot involving a male teacher (the likable Scott Speedman) halts the forward momentum of the narrative. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the film is the Sapphic subtext as the girls form unnaturally close bonds. As alluded to in the movie, gothic tales such as this always have sex, death, and blood. After proclaiming this, though, the movie shies away from this aspect and leaves it largely unexplored. Harron opted to stay in the tween angst realm in this adaptation and the movie lacks an edginess that might have upped the danger and excitement. I didn't hate "The Moth Diaries," if anything I'm apathetic about it. It might very well have made a great movie, but everything feels thoroughly undercooked. About 2 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 8/12.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Well Done SleeperSept. 14 2012
Just some old guy.
- Published on Amazon.com
Lily Cole...Eerily portrays Ernessa & I can not fully explain. Yet when I first saw her it seemed like something was amiss with her looks but the more I watched the more I was intrigued. A girl struggling with the death of her Father, the friend that pulls her out of depression and brings her back to life. Enter Ernessa a haunting beauty that quickly comes between two best friends which leads to jealousy. Those around only see the jealousy and you yourself at first see as just that. However as this story unfolds you see more to Ernessa than the others around her. There are enough things going on in this movie to keep you interested...not just Ernessa but how a teen girl experiences sex for the first time. How they all react as those close knit bonds begin to break between them. For my tastes this was a nicely done tale (what effects there are)are well done. There is blood yet not much violence - acting is great, beliveable, nothing over the top. By comparison this would fit in with "The Deaths of Ian Stone" "From Within". Both were shows that I knew nothing about and just happened to stream from Netflix as I was getting tired and figured I would drift off watching them yet both woke me up. This was something I saw first then bought...not sure if you would buy it but worth a watch.