The Moth Diaries Puts A Teen Girl Twist On Traditional Vampire Tropes

Rebecca’s handsome English teacher says that every vampire tale contains three elements: blood, sex, and death. These are also frequently found in coming of age stories. Adolescence is an incredibly vulnerable and dramatic period in a person’s life where everything feels like life or death, especially friendships and crushes. Teens are often overwhelmed by raging hormonal changes and newfound erotic feelings. 

In the opening of “The Moth Diaries,” the cloistered girls discuss losing their virginity and boyfriends (or lack thereof). Rebecca experiences sexual jealousy when Ernessa becomes closer to Lucy, waking up one night to find them enthralled in a passionate, moaning embrace. But like most of the film, it is difficult to tell whether this is reality, or simply a manifestation of her subconscious desires.

Vampires lust after blood as a life-giving source, but in the “The Moth Diaries” blood is primarily associated with death. Ernessa does not want to drink Rebecca’s blood; she wants Rebecca to spill her own. Blood features visually throughout the film, from the appearance of Rebecca’s menstruation to buckets raining down from the sky. Ernessa takes advantage of Rebecca’s depression and suicidal thoughts, typical teenage maladies that are compounded by the memory of witnessing her father’s death. “The moment of death is ecstatic. It is the most joyful sensation. You are being born into a new existence,” Ernessa tells her, desperately trying to get Rebecca to cross to the other side. “The Moth Diaries” is a riveting mix of vampire iconography and teen melodrama about the pains of growing up.

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