“Beautiful Creatures” is a supernatural southern-fried teen romance that’s a bit on the corny side and far from scary.
The story is set in Gaitlin, South Carolina, where young Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) begins her junior year at the local high school. Lena is new in town. She lives with her uncle (Jeremy Irons), a feared recluse who supposedly worships demons while simultaneously acting as the town’s patron. It’s a complicated relationship.
Meantime, Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich), also a junior, becomes smitten with the newcomer, considering her quite literally the girl of his dreams. The plot is complicated by Lena’s abilities to change the weather and cast illusions. She is a “caster” or witch. And, she must soon declare her intentions: good witch or bad witch. Ethan finds that his dreams of Lena are actually about their ancestors, tragically separated by the Civil War. There’s a curse involved. And, Ethan could be the young man who turns Lena to the dark side.
“Beautiful Creatures” never really takes off. It’s partly due to the inexperience of the young cast and a screenplay that makes you smile for all the wrong reasons. Moments designed to make you shudder and fear for the characters fall flat. I never really sense anyone is in danger. You can see the end coming, despite the best intentions of the cast and filmmakers.
Of course, the film is intended for pre-teen and teenaged girls, so perhaps I’m a bit unfair. But, “Beautiful Creatures” reminds you of the “Twilight” series, but without the suspense. Grade: C-