Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Moth Diaries (2011): Goes great with black lipstick

The Moth Diaries (2011)
dir: Mary Harron

Remember that girl in high school who shopped at Hot Topic?  The one who wore leggings with bats on them, and used face powder to whiten her skin, with black lipstick to emphasize the depth of her pain. Usually, she's described as mall goth, or kiddie goth.  Her favorite band was Evanescence.  That girl would love the shit out of this movie.

For everybody else, the movie is a crap shoot.

But, really, who else would love a mostly-female retelling of Dracula? Especially one that changes the setting to a girls boarding school and features a bit of girl-on-girl vampire action, as well as male teacher-on-girl action?  The Moth Diaries is such a specific movie with such a specific tonality that it can't help but have a very targeted audience.  If you like wallowing in your broody darkness, this is the movie for you.

The Moth Diaries centers around Rebecca, a girl who lost her father to a wrist-cutting suicide at least two years ago. She returns to her boarding school with her group of friends, which is disrupted by the introduction of a new student, Ernessa.  As the year progresses, Rebecca's friends start getting expelled or dying, and her best friend, Lucy, seems to be falling in love with Ernessa.

Rebecca becomes the lonely outcast in school with a deep fixation on Ernessa, thinking she was a vampire, especially after reading the story Carmilla, which the hottie male English teacher assigned. As she starts getting more desperate and nobody listens to her, it starts almost seeming as if Ernessa barely exists outside her circle of friends.

The Moth Diaries obviously has several parallels to Dracula instead of Carmilla.  But, it does nothing much with any of these parallels.  Everything seems to exist to emphasize the brooding and loneliness that Rebecca feels as she loses her friends.  In emphasizing the broodiness of teenage girls, Mary Harron has created a seemingly compelling painting of the gothiness of some teenage girls. But, other than these heightened emotions, Harron isn't saying anything of substance.

If you just want a mood piece of Dracula gone lesbian, this is made just for you.  If you're looking for anything more than gothic broodiness with little depth, then you'll find The Moth Diaries severely lacking.

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