Beautiful Creatures

Certificate 12A, 124 minutes ★★★★★★★

Now that Sparkle the Vampire is finally excised from our consciousness, the studios inevitably have something lined up to take its place, and so enter Beautiful Creatures, cynically timed some (i.e. me) might say to coincide with “V” day (no, not Vampires. The other thing. With kissing and overpriced roses. Yes, *that* one). This is a paranormal romance based on the Young Adult series of novels by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

If, like me, you associate paranormal romance with the moping and dreary Twiglet, by now your fingers will be somewhere down your throat. Well, pull them out, because this film is not half bad. This film has wit, (Southern) style and panache. And the always brilliant Dame Eileen Atkins.

So, the plot: Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) is stuck in this small South Carolina town, dreaming of how to escape. Then one day new girl, Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert – daughter of Kiwi director Jane “The Piano” Campion) arrives in school. She’s the niece of Macon Ravenwood (Jeremy Irons, being somewhat Frittonesque – Rupert Everett would have been proud!). Now the good, bible thumping townsfolk, led by Emma Thompson regard the Ravenwoods as evil devil worshipers, and we soon discover that Lena can control the weather just by thinking about it. And of course they are immortal.

And so the inevitable happens and Ethan falls for Lena.  But there’s a complication: If a caster (what the Ravenwoods call themselves) falls for a mortal… well there’s a curse. And on her sixteenth birthday (there’s a neat little tattoo on her hand that counts down the days) Lena will find out whether the curse has struck and she is claimed for the dark side…

The two leads are convincing and put in a good performance, but the Brit supporting cast drive it home with both barrels, leaving the back row in no doubt who’s boss.

Not sure I’ll go out and read the book (even if it is only £2.99 on Amazon), but I probably won’t say no to the inevitable sequels.