The Moth Diaries

Or as I like to think of it, Lesbian Dracula.

Hey everyone, welcome to Thursday's Tagline! Today I thought we might take a brief detour to snowy northern Canada, so that we could talk about The Moth Diaries, another one of my spectacular late night Netflix adventures. Starring Sarah Bolger (who I remember as Mary in The Tudors as Rebecca, a student at an all-girls prep-school. Now I get a little worried whenever a movie starts with a girl narrating something she is writing in a diary (especially with the possibility of vampires in the offing) but I decided to press on anyway. Rebecca seems right off the bat like kind of a troubled girl. We find out that her dad killed himself a few years before the movie takes place, I guess he was a artsy writer poet or something, anyway, back to Rebecca, she is doing okay now, thanks in part to her besty, Lucy (Sarah Gadon, who I saw in Cosmopolis, some day I'll get around to reviewing it I swear) who she... really likes. Now I'm assuming the "feeling" is mutual, because I had lots of close friends who I didn't talk to while I was taking a bubble bath and they were playing with the bubbles. That's pretty good friends, and later events support my "not just friends" theory.

She's always looking down in this scene. Totally checking Lucy
out. For shame Mary Tudor, I thought you were a good Catholic.
You see Becca becomes immediately jealous, and then suspicious when new girl Ernessa (what the hell kind of name is that) moves to school and starts putting the friend moves on Lucy (btw Ernessa is portrayed by Lily Cole, who I admit is kind of weird looking). Around this time Rebecca is taking what as near as I can tell is a class on inappropriate behavior in a classroom full of high school girls, through the medium of books, taught by Scott Speedman (he was the werewolf vampire hybrid in Underworld) Among this saucy mix of literature is Carmilla, which if you don't know is about a lady vampire who feeds on a lady). Rebecca becomes convinced that Ernessa is also a vampire, or at the very least is weird, and has sinister intentions for Lucy. Also her room smells weird and she is just an unsettling creep most of the time. There are certainly signs, though we can never be sure if everything is happening the way we see it or if the movie is filtered through the lens of Rebecca's crazy-sauce POV.

Scott Speedman stop kissing high-schoolers just because
Kate Beckinsale isn't interested anymore.
I was initially really confused by the setting of the movie, because Netflix tickets this as a movie about a College senior. She is obviously not that, because you find out she is 16 at the beginning. I wasn't listening close the first time, so I was wondering what sort of weird college gives detentions and has uniform inspections. Slowly even I caught on though, and deduced that clearly this was a preppy boarding school. This movie isn't afraid to bang it out to the nines either, so there are scenes characteristically full of girls talking about boys and dancing around their rooms while eating popcorn and singing really loudly while pretending to play Rock Band and other things that make me wish I was doing something else with my time. Thank GOD Ernessa comes to kill, remove, or drive insane every character in the entire movie, saving Rebecca for lasties.

They do a terrible job singing along. The game would have
totally failed them, that thing is merciless.
That really to me is where the movie gets it right. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants scenes aside, this movie is classic in the way it approaches the vampire story. It isn't monsters tearing heads off, quite to the contrary. You're left for basically the entire movie (and I won't tell you if she is or not) wondering if Ernessa is anything but a sort of odd girl amidst a string of unfortunate accidents. We think they're because of her because we view the world through Rebecca's eyes, but is that how things are happening, or are we seeing just the version of events that Rebecca, an admittedly damaged individual, is perceiving them?

Silly Ernessa, we don't shower in blood with our good
clothes on! What a silly girl.
I was flippant earlier about how I think Rebecca is harboring other-team tendencies for Lucy (and I honestly do think she has romantic feelings for her, even if she isn't straight up a lesbian, because she seems to also have a crush on Scott Speedman), but honestly that's not the important thing here. What matters is the sense of obsession Rebecca seems to have for Lucy, and the increasing desperation with which she pursues her growing vendetta against Ernessa. Rather than being visceral, this movie is permeated with a sense of otherworldly disconnect, as if the whole movie is one long nightmare. Indeed, there are several moments where Rebecca struggles to find the difference between her own (possibly Ernessa induced) nightmares, and her waking life. I think it really works in this movie, and I'm glad they chose to approach it that way.

So while I found aspects of this movie to be silly and cliche, they were all secondary to the central conflict, which I found more or less very well done, and compelling. It kept me watching through girl's night jumping on our beds, because I wanted to know. Was Ernessa the undead, or was Rebecca just out of her GD mind?

That's it for this week, I'll see you around gang! Stay classy.

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