The Gist: Rebecca returns to her boarding school for another year of learning and hanging out with her 4 best friends but their usual antics are disrupted by the arrival of new student Ernessa Blanc. She is odd and an outsider and quickly befriends Lucy, Rebecca’s best friend, who pulls further and further away from Rebecca and closer to Ernessa. Rebecca begins to suspect that Ernessa is no ordinary girl as she starts to see strange things and becomes convinced that Ernessa is a vampire.
Girls, Girls, Girls and a Guy: Lily Cole (Ernessa), Sarah Gadon (Lucy), Sarah Bolger (Rebecca), Scott Speedman (Mr. Davies)
My Take: This flick is based on a YA novel of the same name and I hope the novel is better. This movie felt very disjointed as the disconnect between Lucy and Rebecca seems like an after thought with Lucy hardly being in the movie. Which seems odd, since she is apparently the object of Ernessa’s affection. The characters seemed hollow and there was no real development or insight into their personalities. Rebecca’s story was so brief that it was hard to care about her as the focal point of the movie. Ernessa’s past and how she came to be at the school could have been better told but the flashbacks felt rushed and I didn’t really follow how she became a vampire. To me it seemed like she more of a ghost.
Some of the disconnect or lack of character/story development came from scenes that just didn’t make sense or didn’t seem to fit in the movie (probably more pertinent in the book). Scenes like the dream Rebecca has of one of her friend’s having sex in the woods while she watches and the relationship between Rebecca and the only male at the school, Mr. Davies. The relationship has merit however it’s so thin and barely part of the movie. Mr. Davies is quite fond of Rebecca as she is daughter of his poetic hero who committed suicide a couple of years earlier. Rebecca turns to him as a confidante and they share an illicit kiss. Then nothing else is explored and he is only seen once more in the movie making this another part of the story that doesn’t work. The flick is clearly influenced by and pulls from Sheridan La Fanu’s Carmilla (Rebecca is reading the book) and also from Bram Stoker’s Dracula; the character of Lucy Blake mirrors the character of Lucy Westenra. Yes, Carmilla was written first and Stoker surely borrowed from that work. It doesn’t excuse the lack of imagination in the flick.
Yah or Nah: This is a Nah. I didn’t care about the characters and I didn’t find any of the performances believable. The vampire was sub par and her character didn’t balance tragedy and malevolence, making her feel flat and uninteresting. And how does drowning make someone a vampire? I think I missed something there too. Some books just don’t translate well to film. I would be interested to hear what other people think about the movie and if anyone has read the book.