The Moth Diaries (film)

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The Moth Diaries
The Moth Diaries FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Mary Harron
Produced by Karine Martin
Written by Mary Harron
Based on The Moth Diaries 
by Rachel Klein
Starring Lily Cole
Sarah Gadon
Sarah Bolger
Valerie Tian
Melissa Farman
Scott Speedman
Music by Lesley Barber
Cinematography Declan Quinn
Edited by Andrew Marcus
Edward R. Pressman Film Corporation
Media Max Productions
Mediabiz International
Samson Films
Distributed by Alliance Films (Canada)
IFC Films (US)
Release dates
  • September 6, 2011 (2011-09-06) (Venice)
Running time
85 minutes
Country Canada
Language English

The Moth Diaries is a 2011 Irish-Canadian horror film directed by Mary Harron and based on a 2002 novel of the same name by Rachel Klein.


At an exclusive boarding school for girls, Rebecca (Sarah Bolger), a sixteen-year-old teenage girl, records her most intimate thoughts in a diary. Two years ago, Rebecca's father, a gloomy poet, committed suicide by slitting his wrists. Her mother transferred Rebecca to the school, hoping to help her daughter escape the dark memories of her father's death. With the help of her best friend and roommate, Lucy (Sarah Gadon), and many other girls, Rebecca soon recovered.

But this year will never be the same. A mysterious, dark-haired girl named Ernessa Bloch (Lily Cole), enrolls into the school. Lucy quickly becomes best friends with Ernessa and becomes distant from Rebecca. Ernessa's presence makes Rebecca feel uneasy. She tries to confront Lucy about Ernessa's dark secrets, but her pleas are dismissed as pure jealousy. Eerie things start to happen. First, Charley (Valerie Tian) gets expelled because of Ernessa. Dora (Melissa Farman) dies in a freak accident shortly after spying on Ernessa's room, and a teacher is found murdered in the woods. Tension starts to grow at the school.

To Rebecca, Ernessa is an enigma. She seems like she can walk through closed windows, and she is often seen lingering around the basement (a place that all students are forbidden to go). Rebecca thinks Ernessa is a vampire.

Ernessa slowly gets rid of Rebecca's close friends, leaving Rebecca to find out what is happening by herself.

A new English teacher, Mr Davies (Scott Speedman), arrives at the school. Mr Davies shows particular interest in Rebecca. The two share ideas on Romantic literature and poetry. Rebecca soon learns that vampires don't necessarily drink blood, but they can drain the lively spirit out of their victims. Mr Davies addresses himself as a fan of Rebecca's poet father. Rebecca turns to Mr Davies for help, but it is no use. During their conversation, the two kiss but Rebecca pulls herself away.

On several occasions, Ernessa confronts Rebecca in the library, and one time, presents Rebecca with a sharp razor and elaborates on the pleasure of death. Another time, Ernessa sings a disturbing nursery rhyme about "The Juniper Tree" then slits her own wrists, causing blood to rain down on her and Rebecca. Afterwards, Ernessa and the blood disappear.

One day, Lucy is sent to the hospital, but only Rebecca knows that Lucy is sick because of Ernessa. Rebecca tries to convince Lucy that Ernessa is the root of all their problems, but Lucy refuses to listen and profanes at her. Although Lucy recovers for a couple days, she soon dies after Ernessa completely drains the life out of her.

Rebecca steals the keys to the basement, and after entering, sees an old stone coffin with Ernessa's full name engraved on it. From an old diary, Rebecca learns that many years ago, Ernessa's father committed suicide, and Ernessa, unable to cope with the grief, also turned to suicide. Rebecca soon learns that for the whole time, Ernessa wanted her to kill herself. In other words, Rebecca is the target victim, and not Lucy.

Shortly after, Rebecca returns to the basement to discover Ernessa sleeping in the stone coffin. Rebecca then pours kerosene on Ernessa and around the coffin she is still sleeping in, lighting the kerosene before Ernessa wakes up.

Rebecca then walks outside to see a fire truck present and her classmates standing around. Through a door she sees the ghost of Ernessa, who slowly turns around and walks into the sun before vanishing.

Rebecca is then escorted to the police station, narrating that the authorities are suspicious of her. During the transportation, she pulls a razor blade out of her diary and secretly drops it out of the car window, deciding that she will not do the same as Ernessa. She looks blankly out of the car window as the film fades to black.


The film was shown Out of Competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival.[1]


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