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Twilight sucks you in to its seductive world and keeps you there until you've consumed every last drop.


Author Stephanie Meyer unleashed a phenomenon with her Twilight novels, a teen vampire romance that has spurned a teen cult following. The good news is the movie is surprisingly just as potent -- a spellbinding, terribly romantic, hypnotic and entertaining film. At its heart are the elements that make any teen drama work; in this case, it's forbidden love. It starts with 16 year-old Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), who relocates from her sunny Phoenix to the cold, gray foreboding atmosphere of Forks, Washington to live with her father. At her new high school, she meets the incredibly attractive but mysterious Cullen clan, including the allusive Edward (Robert Pattinson), who immediately intrigues her. What she doesn't know, yet, is that Edward and his "family" are a group of vegetarian vampires who drink only animal blood and must live in the terminally cloudy region of Northwest. Edward tries to drive a determined Bella away by revealing his true identity but soon realizes she is the girl of his dreams. But as the two begin their complicated romance, things get dicey when another group of, um, meat-lovin' vampires target Bella.


Teen Beat should clear their covers for a new group of stars sure to become huge with the female teen set -- and probably their mothers as well. Exuding a brooding reserve and air of mystery, the follicley-endowed Robert Pattinson is reminiscent of James Dean and completely believable as a conflicted bloodsucker who becomes dangerously attracted to a mere mortal. His Edward's unpredictable nature becomes irresistible for the attractive Kristen Stewart's Bella as she grows closer to him despite his attempts to keep her at arm's length. Not since Baby yearned for Johnny Castle in Dirty Dancing has there been such an effective pairing for the acne-challenged set. Pattinson and Stewart simmer with teen angst and desire and could be the next big thing -- especially if there are more Twilight sequels to follow. The Cullen clan, led by foster parents Peter Facinelli and Elizabeth Reaser, is perfectly cast with a good looking bunch of vampiric thesps, including newcomers Ashley Green, Kellan Lutz, Jackson Rathbone and Nikki Reed. Red-headed Rachelle LeFevre as bad vamp Victoria is ideal, along with Cam Gigandet and Edi Gathegi as the guys in her group of nomadic vampires.


Director Catherine Hardwicke has certainly shown she understands the ever-changing moods of youth with her previous efforts (Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown). But those flicks were just warm-ups for what she taps into with Twilight. She creates a wonderful, creepy kind of muted, dark and cloudy society with imposing camera angles and aching teen lust from her bright, red-lipped, hormonally charged leads. And thankfully, she leaves the fangs on the cutting room floor. These vampires are actually relatable, and Hardwick takes what could have been an awful, juvenile programmer and lifts it into a different league creating not only a movie that should cross over beyond it's target demo but one that makes us genuinely excited for the inevitable sequels.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 1/2 stars.