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Starring: Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart

Unless you’re a 15-year-old girl, chances are the Twilight phenomenon has completely passed you by.

A series of vampire romance novels (think The OC with a bit more bite) penned by Stephenie Meyer, they inspire the sort of rabid devotion among teenagers that is usually reserved for the latest boybands.

With that in mind, bringing the first Twilight book to the big screen was always going to be tricky for director Catherine Hardwicke — how do you keep a screeching fanbase happy and not bore the living crap out of newcomers?

By making a faithful adaptation that’s beautifully shot and well acted, that’s how.

Meyer ensures that even those who don’t know the Twilight characters are sucked into the storyline.

Having relocated to the town of Forks in Washington, Bella (Stewart) meets the Cullens, a vampire family able to control its bloodlust.

Though staying off the claret is not easy for Edward Cullen (Pattinson) when the new girl looks good enough to eat.

Things become even more complicated when a trio of bloodsuckers show up and start gunning for Bella.

What you get is a touchy-feely film about obsession and forbidden love that requires its young stars to emote properly — and, for the most part, Pattinson and Stewart are up to it.

The director creates a gorgeous backdrop for the leads and, while she fluffs her lines when it comes to the action scenes, Hardwicke has crafted a movie that keeps the Twilight franchise in rude health. PIERRE DE VILLIERS


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