The Moth Diaries | Chicago Reader

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82 minutes

The claustrophobic setting—a strict boarding school for girls—enhances the gothic overtones and lesbian undertones of this Canadian vampire chiller (2011). The 16-year-old heroine (Sarah Bolger), still traumatized by the suicide of her poet father two years earlier, bristles when her best friend forever (Sarah Gadon) falls under the sway of an eerie new classmate (Lily Cole). Writer-director Mary Harron (American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page) incorporates references to not just Bram Stoker's Dracula but Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla, a 1872 novella with a female vampire that preceded the more famous story by a quarter century. In the end, though, no literary name-dropping can excuse the movie's thudding familiarity.

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