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    Beautiful Creatures Primer: 6 Ways the Paranormal Romance Will Leave You Spellbound

    Viola Davis, Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, Beautiful Creatures

    It's official: Casters are the new vampires.

    The young adult-section at your favorite bookseller keeps expanding. Published in 2009, Beautiful Creatures is the next potion-filled love story that Hollywood hopes will bring teens to the box office. Opening on Valentine's Day, Creatures is the first in the book series cowritten by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

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    Beautiful Creatures John Bramley/Warner Bros.

    Set in a small town in South Carolina, Creatures is all about angsty teen Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich) who wishes to meet another who shares his angst. Presto! He meets Lena Duchannes (Alice Englert) the girl of his dreams, literally. There's only one problem: Lena's a witch, er, a Caster. And once Casters turn 16, they'll become forever linked to the Light or Dark, which is just as ominous as it sounds. And wouldn't you know it, Lena's hot older cousin Ridley (Emmy Rossum) is full-on dark.

    With a cast that includes vets Jeremy Irons, Viola Davis and Emma Thompson, Beautiful Creatures doesn't take itself too seriously, and it's all the better for it. Here's why:

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    Alice Englert, Alden Ehrenreich, Beautiful Creatures Warner Bros. Pictures

    1. No Love Triangle Here: From the start, the conflict is about whether Lena can control her fate in The Claiming. There's no other dude named Gale or Jacob in the mix. But why do Lena and Ethan both have dreams about the Civil War?!

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    Beautiful Creatures John Bramley/Warner Bros.

    2. Time for a Dude's POV: Earlier this month Warm Bodies got the post-Twilight flicks off to an undead start with a story told primarily from a boy zombie's point of view. Ethan is Creatures' main narrator plus, he's mortal. And quite funny. Alden Ehrenreich, 23, was reportedly hesitant to jump in to a YA-film adaptation, but we're glad he did. His fresh-faced Southern charm and humor makes some of the sillier aspects (like all the Civil War reenactment stuff) easier to swallow.

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    Beautiful Creatures Warner Bros.

    3. Alice Is Tops: Newcomer Alice Englert was the right pick to play Lena. With her raven hair and that magical don't-mess-with-me stare, 17-year-old Englert brings her own brew of comic timing and vulnerability. Fun fact: Alice is the daughter of Oscar-nominated filmmaker Jane Campion.

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    Beautiful Creatures John Bramley/Warner Bros.

    4. Not Another Supernatural to Be Found: So far Casters are the only non-mortals in town: no bloodsuckers and no werewolves. And please let there never be any fairies.

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    Emmy Rossum Beautiful Creatures Warner Bros.

    5. Emmy Rossum Is Delightfully Evil: Happily, the rest of the cast keeps us entranced, too. Rossum's Ridley Duchanne is never subtle—check out those the sexy outfits and her red convertible. Emma Thompson gets dual camp duties as Mrs. Lincoln, Ethan's best friend's Bible-obsessed mother, and as something else that's not-so-holy.

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    Beautiful Creatures John Bramley/Warner Bros.

    6. From Book to Screen: We won't go into too much detail but the first book is huge. Changes had to be made. One of the best: Viola Davis' Amma is a mix of a housekeeper and librarian from the novel. Last year, Davis was nominated for her role in The Help but the actress was much more interested in being a Seer, a keeper of the town's secrets.

    Read the entire Beautiful series already? Seen the film yet? Sound off in the comments!

    See pictures from Beautiful Creatures

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