I admit upfront to not necessarily fitting the demographic that this film is intended for. I’m not an adolescent girl, riding this newest wave of Vampire works. I belong to no “team”, a la TWILIGHT, nor do I read books that are clearly as dreadful as the source that spawned THE MOTH DIARIES.
That being said, there’s still certain things I can expect from a film of this nature. The boarding school that serves as a setting should be appropriately gothic. The outside girl that moves in mid-semester should appear strange and other worldly. And the horrific events, when they do come, should spill lots of blood in that cathartic form that pubescent-aimed Vampire fantasies traffic in.
Alas, THE MOTH DIARIES gets very few of these elements right. Sure, there’s some creaky wood and a manipulative score, but the dreadful cast and plodding narrative sinks the film almost from the get go. The only person in the entire work that seems to get what movie she’s supposed to be in is the ethereal Lily Cole. Stunning in Gilliam’s PARNASUS film, here she manages to play the role with the requisite balance between seduction, etherealness and bitchiness. She’s the only thing that saves the film from truly being abominable. Silly CGI effects and basement chases do much to try and drive the film downwards into a maudlin mess, but for brief moments Cole manages to rescue the film from the morass.
Flighty and flaky, THE MOTH DIARIES will likely bore even those that the film is made to work for – there’s little in the way of the PG-level of titillation required, and frankly it’s all so silly and predictable that I’d hope people wouldn’t fall for its manipulations. Perhaps we will look back at this as one of Cole’s minor works as she rose to greater heights, but I fear that she may not quite yet be catching the wave that she should be, and maybe destined to spend her career either in trash like this film, or with minor roles in greater works.