Secrets can tear friends apart and this is something young Rebecca is about to learn.
They go everywhere together. But when new girl Ernessa (Lily Cole) arrives at the school strange things start happening.
Rebecca watches as Ernessa moves in on her closest friend Lucie and Lucie’s new bond with Ernessa becomes hypnotic and not natural.
Lucie’s health starts to dwindle and Rebecca becomes determined to find out what has happened to her friend. What is Ernessa hiding? What is her connection to the classic gothic story Carmilla?
Starlet Sarah Bolger has been making the rounds in Hollywood as of late. The young Irish actress first claimed fame starring in Jim Sheridan’s touching family movie “In America”. Then she starred in “The Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Alex Rider”.
Now 21, Bolger is starting to stretch her acting ability and it is heavily showcased in her wonderful performance in this film. She throws herself into this role and there is no looking back. There are some scenes that are utterly crippling especially the rather creepy scenes with Lily Cole.
Lily Cole was perfect casting for this film. The young actress has a very distinctive look that kind of reminds me of those creepy antique porcelain head dolls.
Her face, the way it is lit, her hair and posture make her performance not only creepy but downright odd. The contrast between her and Bolger is the showcase of the film. And each actress does a wonderful job.
Director Mary Harron has an eye for finding new talent. She’s famous for directing Christian Bale in his breakout film “American Psycho”. She also directed Lili Taylor in “I Shot Andy Warhol” and Gretchen Mol in the under-appreciated “The Notorious Bettie Page”.
Harron does a wonderful job here balancing the creepy with the supernatural and keeping everything extremely grounded. Harron makes this film believable and really does a wonderful job with these young fresh faces.
For me, the movie had some slight pacing problems in the third act. There are about three scenes right before the final showdown that puzzled me. There were also a couple subplots left unanswered.
Like for instance, was something cut from the film that explored the student-teacher relationship? Was there anything more to that? Why did we never see Lucie’s parents?
Did Ernessa ever have any parents?How did she end up back at the school? If she was always there who was helping her stay there and for what purpose?
The delightful performances, brilliant atmosphere and a new take on the vampire myth make this film really engaging but really I needed more from it.
3.5 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer