The Moth Diaries closets a clutch of Lolitas in an all-girls’ boarding school, the only male within hailing distance a lit prof (Scott Speedman) who gets off on teaching vampire fiction — “sex, blood and death” — to his itchy charges. Then a new student, affectless, pale as a ghost, strangely lacking any appetite for institutional food, arrives to pour fuel on this hotbed. Seems like Mary Harron, ballsy helmer of American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page, ought to be the perfect chef for what could be a tasty stew of female libido, liberally sauced with the supernatural.
Sadly, Diaries never really steams up the screen with any psychosexual hijinks, and it falls way short of successfully mining vampirism as fertile metaphor for Sapphic love, Oedipal attachment, menses and wrist-slitting suicide! Surprisingly, Harron seems indifferent to any potential ambiguities in Rachel Klein’s YA vampire/teen awakening tale: Are we following the diary of sad-sack adolescent, obsessed vampire-hunter — or is our narrator a nutcase projecting her dark side onto a handy doppelganger? Truth be told, it’s hard to care one way or another. Drained dry of tension and energy, erotic or otherwise, The Moth Diaries fails to frighten, titillate or otherwise engage the imagination.