Considering it is from Mary Harron, the director of American Psycho, The Moth Diaries is surprisingly inept at doing anything very remarkable. Based on Rachel Klein’s highly praised novel from 2002, the film is a Canadian/UK co-production set in an American girls boarding school. However, this is more Twilight than Malory Towers, as one particular student (played by Lilly Cole) has sinister habits that may suggest she is something more than human.
The only way to describe The Moth Diaries is bland, boring, bland. The acting is bland. The plot is boring. The direction is bland. The whole thing ends up becoming boring. And the main actors look far too old to play school students, as if the filmmakers had rounded up a group of thirty year olds and dressed them in preppy uniform. It’s a bit of a pity, really, as one gets the feeling that there could have been an interesting film here if Andrea Arnold or Neil Jordan had been in charge.
At a push, one could say the film occasionally shows signs of visual flare. In the only memorable scene in the movie, Cole’s character causes blood to rain from the school library ceiling. But any power this achieves is soon passed over in favour of cliché and muddled twists.
In the end, all we have here is a rather dire film made up of squandered potential and bad performances. I’m sure everyone involved gave it a jolly good go, but the end result just doesn’t justify the viewer spending any time or money on it.
The Moth Diaries (2013), directed by Mary Harron, is released in the UK by Lionsgate, Certificate 15.