TWILIGHT, directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Thirteen), and based off the ridiculously popular book of the same name, is celebrating it’s 10 year anniversary with a new 4K release. Based off of the series by Stephanie Meyer, the book, and subsequently the movies, centers around a young woman who falls in love with a vampire and the consequences that befall their choices and the dangers that surround them. The film stars Kristen Stewart (Personal Shopper), Robert Pattinson (Good Time), Billy Burke (Lights Out), and Taylor Lautner (Abduction).

Emo high school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) has just moved to the small town of Forks, Washington from the comforts of her home in Arizona. As she settles in and acclimates herself to living with her estranged dad, she meets the mysterious Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) who she feels an immediate pull towards. But Edward, and his family, aren’t what they seem – they possess a dark secret: the Cullens are vampires. Throwing caution to the wind, Bella and Edward begin to grow closer and a passion ignites resulting in the most unlikely of romances. As Edward tries to ignore his growing blood lust, another danger presents itself in the form of an enigmatic pact of vampires who have caught the extraordinary scent that envelopes Bella. As this new pact closes it, it’s up to Edward, and his family, to protect Bella and her loved ones before they all become prey to the hordes of undead bloodsuckers.

Sigh. This film is a doozy, and I don’t mean that in a fun way. Initially, I thought it would be fun to revisit the TWILIGHT series as it’s been quite some time since I’ve viewed any of them. Honestly, I’ve probably only seen TWILIGHT a total of two times – the first with a friend when it originally came out and the second with Rifftrax playing over it. I had very little memory of the film other than the fact that it essentially killed my love of vampires for almost a decade and made me cringe whenever I saw Kristen Stewart bite her lips for the umpteenth time. Deciding to give the film another chance, I agreed to review the entire series for the anniversary in hopes that maybe time had treated these movies better than I imagined. They did not.

We all know the synopsis of this movie so I’m not going to bore you with those minute details. What really concerns me about TWILIGHT is the message it is promoting to young women. I know, I know, this seems like a heavy topic for a movie about sparkling vampires, but it’s important to discuss just how problematic this movie truly is. I’ll just be straight with you all, Edward is a monumental dick – he gaslights Bella at every turn and rides that fine line of being emotionally/mentally abusive towards her. For her part, Bella does absolutely nothing to stop the behavior and instead basks in the attention and treatment from Edward, showcasing that she is okay with receiving this type of abuse. Ladies – this is not the type of boyfriend you want – regardless of if he’s a vampire or not. Why I never picked up on this 10 years ago is beyond me but damn is it harsh to view in 2018. I could write pages upon pages just on the treatment that Bella receives but I just want to get this review over with as quickly as humanely possible.

Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in TWILIGHT

In terms of the acting, holy shit was it atrocious. Robert Pattinson has since gone on to do incredible performances in films such as Good Time and the upcoming sci-fi thriller High Life, but man, watching him in TWILIGHT was painful. The same can be said about Kristen Stewart, who has grown in her acting abilities, most notably in the slow-burn horror film Personal Shopper, and in the semi-biopic flick Lizzie. Watching those two interact in TWILIGHT is the equivalent of getting stabbed repeatedly in the face with a pencil and I can see why after they finished their obligation to the franchise they decided to distance themselves from those characters as much as they could. I also completely forgot that Anna Kendrick was in the movie so that was a fun surprise that I never realized was coming. The only character that didn’t make me want to give up on life was that of Bella’s dad, Charlie Swan (Billy Burke). At least he seemed to be somewhat grounded in reality and I found myself relating hard to his “no fucks given” attitude.

TWILIGHT is an absolute mess and if you are a TWILIGHT fan reading this you should probably take pause and think about what this film is truly showcasing and the type of behavior it seems to condone. Also, I’m not here for justification of Edward because fuck that guy, seriously. I’m not going to spew my anger at director Catherine Hardwicke because 1) it’s hard enough for women directors to get gigs such as these and 2) she didn’t come up with the story, but I will say that Stephenie Meyer seriously needs to check herself so as to stop perpetuating this type of destructive romance. I’m hoping that I won’t be as angry when I review the remaining films in the series, but if this is any indication of what is to come, I’m not sure how I’ll make it through all the rest.

If you are a masochist and would like to pick up the 4K release of TWILIGHT, well, good news for you, as it is being released today. There are a slew of special features that range from featurettes, interviews with the cast, and more. Stay tuned for my upcoming reviews of NEW MOON, ECLIPSE and BREAKING DAWN as I’m sure they will be just as colorful as this one. Until then, I’m going to sit here and try to determine how it’s possible for Edward Cullen’s hair to be styled that high at all times.

Shannon McGrew
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