|There is a certain amount of insanity necessary to make a film that makes fun of a dead man and involves jokes about a corpse. Jokes that involve things like dismembered fingers and dogs who get their ears cut off. But while the sense of humor in Beautiful Creatures could easily be termed “sick,” the film still manages to make seemingly horrific things seem quite funny at times. Though the film is not a barrel of laughs from beginning to end (it’s not supposed to be in any case), there is an energetic vigor to the film which never lets up on the gas. And even if the film runs a little longer than it needs to, by and large, the film is still an enjoyable one.|
For people like the type of black humor used throughout the film. Part of the success of this film lies in stars Susan Lynch and Rachel Weisz’s strong pairing on the screen and the energy the both project in their roles. As two women living in abusive relationships with their respective boyfriends, “Dorothy” and “Petula” meet one another only because one of their boyfriends is killed. While their relationship is not on the best of terms to begin with, their dependence on one another grows as the film carries on.
Using a combination of dark humor and chilling drama, the film takes off at a run for the finish line (AKA the end credits) so when viewers reach the point where three-fourths of the film has been completed, waiting until the end becomes a much less daunting task. Feeling empathy for the criminal women and wishing them success in their lies to cover up the truth is an easy task, considering the horrible men both are attached to when the story begins. It might be easy to peg this film as a film for “man haters” (as all the men in the film are quite horrid), but with the dark humor included in the story, the film can appeal to anyone in search of a gripping story.
Perhaps one of the only drawbacks to the film is the fairly predictable way in which it travels to reach its conclusion. Though the very end is not so obvious, the path the characters take to get there isn’t always the most surprising. But with so much emphasis on the relationship between the main characters and the strange humor that accompanies that relationship, predictability doesn’t really spell disaster for this picture. It just keeps the film from being a complete success on every level (acting, story, etc.). Of course, the cinematography and art direction aren’t stand out either, so concentrating on the characters themselves is an even more important task.
And since the film is not some giant historical epic, nor is it a lavish period film, the normalcy of the photography and set decorations isn’t of the highest importance anyway. The inclusion of physical and verbal comedy from the lead actresses certainly helps, since the audience will probably be able to focus solely on the performers without much effort. Resembling an independent film in looks and length, Beautiful Creatures has the attitude of a larger budget thriller, but makes due with emphasis on character development in addition to the strong violence.
The film just hits eighty minutes or so before its end titles begin appearing, so why it “feels” longer than it is probably is due to some repetitive elements in the plot line which come about to confront Petula and Dorothy more than once. The director seems to have favored including longer scenes with fewer overall rather than making the film run at a quicker pace. Though the “thriller” aspect of the film is never far in the background, the story still rambles off course a few times in the latter half of the film. Having different problems crop up for the protagonists might have alleviated the repetitive tone in some spots, but as this problem is not an overwhelming one, and since the film is still quite short, additional plot might have served only to drag down the film.
Beautiful Creatures is not a film that will appeal to all audiences. The tone of its humor can be rather distasteful at times and if taken too seriously, viewers might be offended. It’s probably better that potential audience members know what type of film they are soon to be watching (a thriller with a heavy dose of murder and black humor) rather than think this film is just another comedy or just another murder mystery. It’s more serious than that and even though a lot of humor comes from the lead characters, the film is quite shocking in areas. But through all the violence, Petula and Dorothy remain sympathetic characters, something which is a credit to both actresses who portray them.
Review by Kelsey Wyatt.