Film Review: Uneven ‘Beautiful Creatures’ Still Casts Spells

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CHICAGO – The young adult horror/romance genre is running out of themes, could somebody please come up with a hunky Frankenstein monster? “Beautiful Creatures” uses witches as it’s premise, and features newcomers Alice Englert and Aiden Ehrenreich as the spell-crossed lovers. Oscarman rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

The film can’t decide what it wants to be, obviously first it’s about the hunk and the teenage witch swooning over each other for the Valentine’s Day crowd, but also it weirdly tortures both lovers with a series of spells, perpetuated by “casters,” and oddly features a series of unrelated characters who waltz in and out of the story without adding much to it. Whether the production is following the books closely or trying to create their own focus, either way the film is not cohesive. However, there are some highlights – a few of the spells are spectacular, the production design is appropriately gothic and bizarre, and Alice Englert (daughter of director Jane Campion) puts a nice spin on the waif-like girl turned reluctant witch.

There’s a new kid in town, a small and close-minded Southern town with a civil war battle past. Her name is Lena (Alice Englert) and immediately the popular, Jesus-loving girls in her high school class start dissing on her relatives, who are rumored to be servants of Satan. This makes the goth-like girl a bit angry, and the result is smashed in classroom windows. There is something about Lena, a girl that high school hunk Ethan (Aiden Ehrenreich) had seen in a dream.

Like Lena, Ethan is an outsider, and longs to leave the small town. He explores Lena’s living space, a manor named for owner Macon Ravenswood (Jeremy Irons). He finds out that Macon is a “incubus” and that his niece Lena is a “caster,” who on her 16th birthday could be forced to the dark or light magical arts. Several characters surround this 16th year “claiming,” including Sarafine (Emma Thompson), Amma (Viola Davis) and Ridley (Emmy Rossum).

“Beautiful Creatures” opened everywhere on February 14th. Featuring Alice Englert, Aiden Ehrenreich, Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson. Screenplay adapted by Richard Lagravanese, from the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Directed by Richard Lagravanese. Rated “PG-13”

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Beautiful Creatures”

Alice Englert, Aiden Ehrenreich
Wherefore Art Thou: Ethan (Aiden Ehrenreich) and Lena (Alice Englert) in ‘Beautiful Creatures’
Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Beautiful Creatures”

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