Beautiful Creatures (12A/PG-13, 124 mins)
Director: Richard LaGravenese
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
The quest to be the next Twilight continues apace with this surprisingly intelligent but ultimately doomed teen fantasy that uses witches as its supernatural vehicle of choice. It starts like most high school dramas, with clever student Ethan standing out among his class of standard issue clichés, until the arrival of newcomer Lena, a member of the mysterious, much gossiped about Duchannes family, shakes things up and the two start to fall for each other. But the Duchannes are witches, with Lena’s uncle (Jeremy Irons) doing his best to keep Ethan away until she turns into either a good or bad witch on her 16th birthday, part of a mythology that can be rewarding but is often hokey and confused. The Deep South setting is atmospheric, though the special effects aren’t great, as it seesaws between a smart and edgy first half and a badly underwritten second, with a weak finale that comes close to derailing the lot. But what has come before, though there’s far too much of it, is sufficiently romantic and angsty to keep the target audience ticking over.