Beautiful Creatures


“Beautiful Creatures” is a dull, silly movie overburdened with exposition in order to establish its vapid mythology, all surrounding a tween-targeted romance between two low-wattage young stars.

Suffice it to say, I’m not a fan.

In Gatlin, South Carolina, a small southern town, a new girl, Lena (Alice Englert), arrives at the local high school. She’s immediately greeted by the girls in her class with accusations of witchcraft and Satan worship, based on her family’s reputation. In spite of some bizarre occurrences that coincide with her arrival, Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a classmate of hers, is smitten by her. He doggedly pursues her affection in spite of her reluctance.
Once she finally begins to open up to him, he quickly discovers that the rumors surrounding her family are true. They’re witches, or as they prefer to be called, “Casters”. Worse still, she’s approaching her sixteenth birthday, a time when Casters will turn either into wielders of dark magic or light magic, in an event known as “The Claiming”. Rival factions within her family are trying to push her towards one side or another, and her affection for Ethan becomes one of the many cards in play.
So as Lena approaches her claiming, she’s forced to stave off the dark forces within her family and straighten out her feelings for Ethan.
It’s gobbledy goop with a tween romantic bent. The romance between the two teens is forbidden, yet destined. The impending “Claiming” could bring about a new era. Lena is the chosen one allowed to read the protected tome of spells. It’s all overwrought nonsense with two teens making puppy eyes at each other at the core of it. I honestly have no idea how this fim is batting .500 on Rotten Tomatoes.  
I could tell “Beautiful Creatures” was an adaptation of a novel, because it felt as if they were trying to cram a thousand details in via the exposition. Where a novel can take its time with such details, a lot of times a film will come across like someone hurriedly yelling things to get at the store at you as you pull out of the driveway. Like “Beautiful Creatures” does. Its dialogue is absolutely stuffed to the gills with the mythos of the “Beautiful Creatures” world. The characters’ history. The rules for “Casters”. Explaining the “Claiming”. Explaining the “Curse”. On and on and on. It barely left any time for the characters to actually do things or say things for themselves, they were all so busy freaking explaining things.
The supporting cast here is worthy of far better things. Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis, Emma Thompson and even Emmy Rossum all add a touch of gravitas that the film surely doesn’t deserve. It was tough to watch them all do their best, and see the material weigh them down like an albatross. They’re also betrayed by the lack of charisma in the two leads. Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert were both flat-out dull, and he frequently strayed into “bad”. I can’t imagine either of them carrying a project on their own (based on what I saw here) and I openly wondered how they landed these parts. Perhaps the casting director spent all their time on obtaining the services of the stars in support.
I’m not in the frame of mind to cut this film much slack. It was a silly, stilted, supernatural soap opera. No one over the age of 12 need apply.


Daniel Fogarty


54 thoughts on “Beautiful Creatures

  1. Do you think this could have been pulled off in a 4 or 6 hour mini-series? Maybe I ought to read the book. When I first saw the book, it totally looked like one that was written to promote a movie so I didn’t read it. Those books are never that good. But if it was it’s own thing first, it sounds like there ‘could’ be an interesting story in there that didn’t work well in a 2 hour or less format.

    • I guess it would have been better in a mini series, yeah. A) It would have been on tv so I would have lowered my standards B) They would have had more time to do things instead of explain things C) Maybe they could have recast the leads. LOL

      • Even when I heard about the big names playing the supporting roles, I still had my doubts. Maybe it will go to Netflix as fast as the Raven did and I can watch it for nothing when I have nothing else to do.

      • Usually I tell people that that’s a solid plan.

        I dont know if I can here. Maybe if its just strictly a time killer you wont mind it but… I cant recommend it. I dont want to be held accountable. LOL 😀

  2. My daughter is seeing it right now. After I saw the trailer, you would be hard pressed to drag me to this with a Tacoma (Space Shuttle reference).

    • LOL. Gotcha. Ive seen that commercial too. Maybe if you were in space and weightless?

      Anyways, wise move. It was brutal. I wonder if it will appeal to the young ones, or if even they’re going to say it sucked? I guess you’ll find out!

  3. I need to start writing young adult fantasy… since it’s all the rage these days. It’s almost worse than the constant sequels and remakes IMO.

    • I guess its not ALL bad, I mean, thats where “The Hunger Games” comes from, and that was a good flick.

      This is some of the worst of the genre though. Really seriously tempted me to split before it was over.

  4. My friend started the book but couldn’t even finish it because it was so horrible. That stopped me from even thinking about seeing the film, which I wasn’t doing anyway.

  5. Yep didn’t really have much intent on seeing this but definitely think I’ll be giving this a miss now. I think maybe people are feeling a little bombarded with this kind of stuff especially seeing as Twilight has only just ended and Hunger Games is in full swing.

    • I wouldnt lump Hunger Games in with these. Hunger Games was a genuinely good film. Yes, it came from the world of young adult fiction, but they managed to make an excellent movie out of it.

      Twilight is a joke, and this one should be too given enough time. LOL Although somehow its at 50% on RT. Which is strange as hell to me…. 😦

      Youre right to stay away, lets put it that way.

      • Never underestimate the teen audience Fogs! Lol. If they want to back something, they will! 50% is pretty low for a movie targeting this audience, just look at how highly thought of the Twilight saga is even though it’s horrible! Hunger Games is a good movie though although I think people do recognise it as teen adult fiction and maybe this is just trying to jump on that bandwagon.

  6. Hi, Fogs and company:

    Call me when Hollywood scrapes the bottom of the barrel with alluring, angst ridden, troubled teens with no acne. Who become belligerent, mystical, magical, shape shifting Lawn and Garden Gnomes.

  7. I almost walked out half-way through, hated it with passion. People are already saying that this is gonna be the new Twilight but I seriously doubt it (the first Twilight film was at least watchable)

  8. The acting in this one alone made me want to avoid it, let alone the similarities to Twilight and the way the plot looked like it would play out. Glad I chose to refuse to see this one. Thanks for taking the bullet there, Fogs! (a true superhero!)

    • LOL I need a themesong as I crash through a wall to deliver a review. 😀

      The cast actually had a bunch of decent people in support… it was the two leads that were lame. I cant imagine what those veterans were thinking of them (probably, oh well, at least I got paid)

      Not worth your time, T. I wouldnt bother with it.

  9. A “Caster”?! Really? That makes them sound like a wheel on an arcade game. Why does every other supernatural movie feel the need to change the name of a common term. Lycan, Caster, Corpse, Boney, Hemophage… you know, this could actually make a pretty difficult trivia game.

    • “A “Caster”?! Really? That makes them sound like a wheel on an arcade game.”

      HA! They’re snapping spares off of tv stands and stuff. 😀

      Its ludicrous. But it fits right in with the rest of the BS. The claiming, the curse, the secret library of casters, the amulet… they have a ton of BS in this puppy to get past.

      That would make a good game. But I would fail because I hate movies like this!

  10. The local college radio station here in Knoxville (90.3 The Rock) were giving away free tickets for this film like they were going out of style. I was so close to being caller #2, and thank God I was not. Good and funny review.

  11. I’d say thanks for letting me know it’s not worth my time, but I came to that conclusion after the first trailer. Also, a little spoiled with Emmy Rossum in Shameless, so if she’s not naked, I’m not interested.

    • It’s true. Especially in this case. I dont think they could have made a good movie out of it even with a better cast, a better diretor and a better script. The source material seems weak.

      We’ll see how audiences take to it though, 😦 Ok, Good. It didnt do well. LOL only $7m. Phew!

    • It’s not good, I’ll say that.

      I dont know what Davis is doing here, I think its far below her talents. But I suppose great parts dont fall into her lap every day. She’s got to make a living somehow!

      • Completely agreed. 🙂 It’s a sacrifice not going to movies this week, Die Hard, Safe Haven, Beautiful Creatures, Escape from Planet Earth mygod horrible film and next week Snitch and Dark Skies looks like another piece of trash i think im gonna wait for Novemer 😉

      • lol. It’s like this year is pretty competiive, Terrence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Nicolas winding bla bla, Im not execited on films this year, Pacific Rim could be great(could be battleship) , Man of Steel(mehhh) , i just wanna watch Stoker!

  12. Well it looks like I like this one a teeeeny bit better than you Fogs, but then again you like Die Hard 5 a bit more than I did so I guess we’re even 😀 In any cast this one is still a bit more enjoyable than Twilight for me, but that’s not saying much, ahah.

  13. i walked out after 40 mins..i knew it will be no masterpiece but its was really bad.screwing up the cinematography for a film called beautiful creatures is a real was just too grubby..

    • I was tempted to leave… probably after the 1 hour mark. LOL. I hung in there to deliver the full report though.

      They screwed up almost everything here, cinematography included. I still think my biggest beef was the script, which was so exposition laden that the characters couldnt breathe. 😦

  14. The ideas of being born into a family/breed of magic-users and a pivotal turning point to choose one side or the other aren’t new, but still have some potential to be eked out. That was the one thing that gave me some mild interest in this when the trailers first came out. But it was so clearly “yet another Twilight” that I wasn’t expecting much. Thanks for taking one for the team on this one Fogs.

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