"Beautiful Creatures", the latest entry in the popular teen vampire film craze, follows a "caster" as she waits to find out her fate. Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman filed the following review for NY1.
"Beautiful Creatures" arrives in a movie market full of "Twilight" junkies still eager for their supernatural teen-romantic fix, and the film’s concept couldn’t be clearer: It’s "Twilight" with the sexes reversed.
This time, it’s the boy who’s the mortal: moody, bookish Ethan, the alienated, rebel outsider in his sleepy small town of Gatlin, South Carolina, though Alden Ehrenreich plays him more like a sensitive jock on Glee.
Lena, the new girl at school played by Alice Englert, comes from a family of witches, or, as they’re known here, Casters. On the day that Lena turns 16, she will be “claimed,” either by the light side or (more likely, because of a family curse) the dark side.
Adapted from the popular young adult novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, "Beautiful Creatures" is lushly pictorial and not-too-badly acted. The best thing in the movie by far is Alice Englert, who has a fresh, un-retouched, Jane Austen-gone-undead appeal. (She also happens to be the daughter of director Jane Campion.)
Jeremy Irons, as Lena’s smoking-jacketed decadent-aristocrat uncle, and Emma Thompson, as her floridly angry dead mother, are like blithe spirits out of a "Dark Shadows" sequel you actually want to see.
All those "Twilight" junkies may find themselves sated, at least for a week or so, by "Beautiful Creatures". Yet there’s a reason this movie won’t be nearly as big. The "Twilight" films are easy to mock, but at their best, they have danger and momentum. "Beautiful Creatures" lacks both those qualities. The characters are as appealing as they need to be, but after a while, the movie bogs down. Maybe that's because we spend way too much time waiting around for Lena to learn whether she's a good girl or a bad girl.