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Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures
Alden Ehrenreich and Alice Englert of Beautiful Creatures

The buzz around town is that “Beautiful Creatures” — directed by Richard LaGravenese and based on a book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl — is the next “Twilight.”

There are basic similarities. For one thing, the story is based on the relationship between two teenagers. In this case, their names are Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert).

The relationship is apparently doomed, not to mention the fact that some of the other (über-Christian) inhabitants in town are less than thrilled that the Duchannes family lives in their little piece of Heaven. And like “Twilight,” the music helps create the atmosphere. The difference here is the soundtrack is scored by one band, Thenewno2, and it works.

As the male lead, Ehrenreich plays his role like an early aw shucks-era Andy Griffith. Relative newcomer Englert, who happens to be Jane Campion’s daughter, is the young beauty at the center of the impending maelstrom that culminates on her 16th birthday.

The movie has all the Gothic ingredients: past lives that hark back to the Civil War, supernatural showdowns, eerie backdrops complete with a creepy estate and lots of Spanish moss-encrusted trees.

“Beautiful Creatures” should be called “Beautiful Wardrobe.” Jeremy Irons’ entrance in any medium is a delight, and his establishing character outfit in this is so sumptuous it’s gasp-worthy. As they say in the biz, “show don’t tell.” Between that vision and the interior shot of the family homestead, we know more about his character than any backstory could supply.

Viola Davis’ character, Amma, is equally well turned-out in scene after scene. Davis’ acting is so credible that if you told me she really is the keeper of all cryptic info through the centuries, I’d believe it. Also fun are Dame Emma Thompson and Sir Jeremy’s lovely Southern accents. I hope from now on having Oscar-winning actors in horror movies is going to be an ongoing trend.

This should be a great Valentine’s Day date movie and one that should get heavy rotation play once it hits cable. Here’s hoping Alice can talk her Mother into directing “Beautiful Creatures 2.”

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