First of all, can I just say that there is something seriously wrong with a line like: “Death was peaceful, easy. Life is harder.” in a movie targeting teenage girls. Now I’m not the most conservative of critics. Hell, I made my own vampire flick targeting teenage girls. It’s called Thicker Than Water: The Vampire Diaries Part 1, and I welcomed the expansion of our mutual sub-genre into this new and most fruitful of demographics. I had heard rumors that the film was ‘dangerous’ but I really couldn’t imagine how it could be so. From what I heard, there is hardly any blood in the film, the gore, only hinted at. Then I saw it. What’s dangerous about this film is precisely that. This is not a horror film. It is a romance. That is its strength and the secret to its appeal. The horror is treated almost dismissively. It’s a story about impossible love and impossible ideals. There is a group on Facebook called ‘Because I saw Twilight, I have unrealistic expectations of men.’ Remarkable self-awareness. Edward Cullen is that impossible ideal: strong, handsome, utterly devoted, yet fatally dangerous. Bella, in love to the point that she is willing to become a vampire to be with him, gives it a fatalistic devotion that I can only compare to Juliet’s. But alas, their love must remain unrequited because he cannot ‘lose control’. A perfect passion paradox. Not to mention allegory for what happens in the backseat of dad’s Volvo after the movie.
Personally I was unmoved by this most theatrical of displays. But that is not saying much. I am, after all, not a teenage girl. Were I such, I would, perhaps, drool over Edward Cullen, hiss at Bella, the skinny bitch, and generally cream my Gap panties over thoughts of jumping atop tall pine trees with my supernatural stud who never has to go ‘all the way’. But what I would not do is revel in the mischief and mayhem that is this film’s birthright. As such Twilight actually does a disservice to the sub-genre. It is really a very traditional Hollywood romance. The loner Goth chicks that I thought it was championing would actually find this kind of dull and ‘establishmentary’. They are not the target audience. Which is really what makes this film so dangerous. In its attempts to whitewash the sub-genre and make it accessible, Twilight actually appeals to the most innocent romantics of the seventh grade; pimply girls with dreams of prom night, not the black-clad eye-liner crew in the corner of the cafeteria.
This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Twilight and its ‘vegetarian’ Judy Bloompires with their day-glo skin and eternal high school attendance are indeed an insidious force. They are creating a generation of girls with ‘unrealistic expectations of men’. Too bad their male counterparts will all be a bunch of X-Box toting man-children. And girls - if you’re reading this - no man is worth it! Get off that ledge and move on! No matter what Bella says, death is not the easy way out. Just remember that this too will pass. As will Twilight.