American Psycho's Mary Harron swings and misses with her adaptation of Rachel Klein's novel The Moth Diaries. While the book was a claustrophobic tale about a mentally ill teenager trying to get over her father's death while dealing with a vampire in her boarding school, the movie resembles a watered-down ghost story that pushes away the scares rather than embracing them. Dour, goth, and tedious, the film meanders along -- complete with a flat voice-over narration -- before stumbling across the finish line in a stereotypically light-horror fashion.
Sarah Bolger stars as Rebecca, a teen whose only relief from the tormented memories of her father killing herself comes in the form of her friendship with classmate Lucy (Sarah Gadon) at her boarding school. When a new student named Ernessa (Lily Cole) is introduced into the mix, Rebecca becomes desperately jealous of this new wedge that's come between her and Lucy. Even worse, it seems that Ernessa is actually draining the life away from her beloved friend, leading Rebecca to believe that perhaps the new girl isn't exactly the innocent she claims to be.
It's hard to tell whether The Moth Diaries was meant to be scary since so much of it feels limp. While the dark imagery ramps up a bit near the end, this is a fairly straightforward story as told by an emotionless main character -- who, as she was originally written, was possibly going crazy -- and her strange tale is laid out in such a matter-of-fact way that it undercuts not only the creep-out factor, but also the psychological edge of the material. Model-turned-actress Lily Cole does indeed come off as an unnatural being, but it's more due to her awkward looks than her attempts at emoting. The Moth Diaries is an imitation Twilight for a mass of young girls who probably won't pay it any notice due to a lack of shirtless guys, so really, what's the point?