It turns out the locals are partially correct. The Ravenwoods are witches -- or "casters," as they prefer -- each with their own unique abilities. Ethan discovers this as he breaks down Lena's standoffish exterior and draws her closer to him, much to the chagrin of their classmates. Macon and the other Ravenwoods likewise don't care for the forbidden caster-mortal relationship. They see Ethan as a weakness that can be used to draw Lena to "the Dark" during her upcoming rite of passage, the Claiming, a ceremony on her 16th birthday in which her true nature is revealed to belong to either the Light or the Dark. As forces try to pull her to both sides, Lena must decide whether her love for Ethan is worth putting him at risk from her family and, if she ends up with the Dark, herself.
The End Result
When the film shifts from the courting stage into the nitty gritty of the plot, it loses some of its charm, and the protracted climactic battle lacks a punch, but LaGravenese (who also directs) manages to pick up the pieces and cobble together an emotional final scene that, along with a few lingering questions, generates anticipation for the sequel. Whatever little the script lacks is compensated for by the superb cast, particularly the two leads, who convey the sort of emotional depth and likable quirkiness Bella and Edward could only dream of.
From a horror standpoint, Beautiful Creatures is a virtual nonentity, ranking lower on the gore-and-fright scale than similar PG-13 horror romances like Warm Bodies, Blood and Chocolate and frankly, even Twilight. That said, if genre fans put aside their blood-lusting expectations, they might find themselves drawn in by the atypical romantic leads, the liberal-minded cerebral outsiders whom they can perhaps identify as kindred spirits.
- Acting: B+ (Genuine, emotional, quirky, likable.)
- Direction: B- (Picturesque but the visuals go a bit more the safe, cartoonish route than the edgier horror route.)
- Script: B- (Clever, playful dialogue early on gives way to a more standard romance and a weak climax.)
- Gore/Effects: C (No gore; some good CGI effects, some not so good.)
- Overall: B- (A surprisingly sharp, witty and heartfelt supernatural romance.)
Beautiful Creatures is directed by Richard LaGravenese and is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence, scary images and some sexual material. Release date: February 14, 2013.