If Twilight, Then Here are 5 Other Cringeworthy, Awful, No-Good, Terrible, Hilariously-Bad Teen Movies
Some Movies Are So Bad, They're Actually Kind of Good
Anyone who knows me knows I adore Twilight. I've read every single one of the books at least five times and have watched the movies just as many times. I'm even able to quote the first film line by line. We can speak endlessly about its long-lasting impact on my music tastes, the books I enjoy and the content I consume. Don't get me wrong. Despite this, there is no doubt in my mind that Twilight is terrible, awful, cringe-worthy and angsty in just about the worst possible way. That being said, it's also amazing.
As moviegoers, we tend to separate films into three broad categories: good, bad and just okay. In doing so, we neglect the fourth and arguably the most entertaining class of movies: the ones that are so bad, they're lowkey kind of good. These films are identifiable by their incredible soundtrack that feels out of place amidst the chaos of sub-par cinematography, lacklustre action sequences and screenwriting that makes you question whether or not the writers have ever interacted with a human person. The enjoyment gained from viewing these types of movies is unmatched. For one, they are hilarious without necessarily trying to be, and they unlock the inner movie critic in all of us. That makes absolutely no sense. This dialogue is so stiff and robotic. Who decided on these haphazard lighting choices? In this category, The Twilight Saga is an innovator.
Premiering in 2008, the franchise is the blueprint for several teen movies (equally terrible) that essentially follow the same cinematic formula. Namely, a bland, uninteresting female lead meets a brooding supernatural love interest whose behaviour is only tolerated because he's handsome. Otherwise, it would be creepy and abusive as hell. They fall in love, and a series of unfortunate events unfold that have no logical basis in reality and are so convoluted that you may question your sanity. Bonus points if the film manages to incorporate a love triangle with a second love interest who stands no chance of ending up with the main character. I love it. These films prove that a movie doesn't have to be Oscar-worthy to be enjoyed and loved. If you love Twilight as much as I do, then here are five other cringeworthy, awful, no-good, terrible, hilariously-bad teen movies that you will enjoy also.
A Bland, Uninteresting Female Protagonist
Catherine Hardwicke, who also coincidentally directed the first Twilight movie, directs this first pick. It shows. Red Riding Hood is a 2011 retelling of the classic fairytale Little Red Riding Hood. Hardwicke's version follows Valerie (played by Amanda Seyfried), who lives with her family in the small town of Daggerhorn that is terrorized by a werewolf. She is in love with her childhood friend, Peter, and hopes to marry him. However, those dreams are squashed when the werewolf murders her sister, Lucie, and she becomes entangled in an arranged marriage with her dead sister's fiancé, Henry. Apparently, by murdering Valerie's sister, the wolf broke a pact with the villagers. Although they are essentially unaware of the wolf's human identity, and none of them can read its mind, so how was this truce negotiated initially? Questions that they don't want you to ask.
The village goes on the hunt for the wolf, only to find out fairly quickly that the wolf has a connection to Valerie and can communicate with her telepathically. The story principally revolves around Valerie coming to terms with this revelation amidst a hunting plot to kill the wolf and discover its identity. Despite all the mystery surrounding Valerie's affiliation with the werewolf, I found her quite bland as a character. She didn't give me "lead character," and nothing about her was particularly captivating, which is honestly the norm for these types of movies. I find that films from this period that aimed to emulate Twilight's success also emulated the cardboard cutout female protagonist that appears devoid of personality, humour and intrigue. Still, this film is worth the watch, if only for the star-studded cast, including Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman and Billy Burke. How did they get these people to agree to do this movie? Oldman is an Oscar-winning actor, and Seyfried is nominated this year! I guess we all have skeletons in our closets.
The Supernatural Factor
There was a time when every teen movie involved some element of the supernatural. After Twilight, vampires and werewolves became all the rage. This phase was subsequently supplanted by all manner of strange beasts: angels, demons, witches, fairies, dragons, mermaids, succubuses (succubi?). The 2018 film, Every Day goes in a different direction entirely. It follows the story of A, a spirit who occupies a new human body every day. Essentially, his spirit possesses a human host, and he can control that person and live their life for a day. Sometimes the host has vague memories after he's left their body, but most times, they don't remember much. One day, he wakes up in the body of Justin and goes to school, meeting Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon, with whom he forges an immediate connection. After that, he uses each new host to get closer to Rhiannon until he finally works up the courage to tell her who he is and explain his situation. Thus ensues a passionate love story that involves connecting and interacting through the medium of distinct hosts each day and finding each other.
This. Movie. Is. Weird. Interesting, but weird. It harkens back to what I declared earlier about the content of these teen movies being creepy and abusive if the characters existed in any other context than the one they are in. Funnily enough, Rhiannon is initially affronted when she discovers that it was A who kissed her and not her boyfriend, Justin, as she'd initially believed. However, the character seems to have no qualms about A occupying random strangers' bodies and kissing her through them without their knowledge or recollection. Is that not also a breach of consent? Or is it acceptable because it's a plot driver and they're "in love"? Keep that same energy is all I'm saying. Overall, I thought Every Day had an original and intriguing concept that felt Twilight-esque but, like Twilight, fell short in its execution. Still 100% worth the watch though if you enjoy crappy movies.
An Imbalanced Love Triangle
Love triangles are stupid. I'm not denying the fact that it is entirely possible to love two people at the same time. However, this trope is rarely written well enough to be believable. There's always a clear winner and loser. That being said, though, I revel in them. They are simultaneously dreadfully predictable and captivating. For the record, I am still Team Edward to this day. Fallen, a 2016 film, is essentially Twilight with angels and contains one such love triangle. Protagonist Luce is sent away to the Sword and Cross Academy for Troubled Teens because of suspicion that she was responsible for a fire that claimed a teen's life. While there, she catches the eye of both Cam (brooding bad boy) and Daniel (brooding loner who's sweet on the inside). As it turns out, both Cam and Daniel are fallen angels, as are most people who attend the school.
They were chucked out of heaven because Daniel refused to choose sides in the war of Heaven v Hell. It is later revealed that he and Luce are trapped in an endless cycle of love and death and that when he kisses her, she dies and is reincarnated, only to begin the process anew. I've read the book series this movie is based on, and, trust me, it is just as ridiculous as the movie. There are a lot of choppy, poorly-conceived action sequences. The film is covered in this depressing, grey filter, and the actors have very little chemistry. But I still devoured every minute of it.
Gratuitous Violence With No Payoff
I feel terrible to mention Amanda Seyfried twice on this list because she's a decent actress, but she plays the protagonist Anita or "Needy" in the 2009 Horror/Comedy, Jennifer's Body. Needy is the best friend of Jennifer Check (played by Megan Fox), a popular cheerleader at their high school in Devil's Kettle, Minnesota. One night, Jennifer convinces Needy to attend a concert for a local band, Low Shoulder, at a seedy bar. There is a mysterious and deadly fire that claims a few students' lives and destroys the bar. Needy convinces Jennifer to leave, but instead of coming home with her, Jennifer hitches a ride in the back of the band's van. Not dangerous at all. She later shows up in Needy's kitchen in the middle of the night, ravenous and covered in blood. Needy notices that after the incident, Jennifer begins to look progressively more sickly and sallow. Concurrently, a string of gruesome murders and disembowelment of teenage boys ensues, all of the victims suspiciously connected to Jennifer. Also, Chris Pratt makes a cameo, randomly.
Jennifer's Body is terrible in the best way possible. It is bad in the way that only an early 2000s movie can be. There are cringe-worthy effects and CGI, over-the-top acting and hilarious action sequences featuring internal organs ripping and chewing on people's body parts. My only qualm is that much of the violence and gore of this film feels hollow. This is an issue that I have with Twilight's final movie, Breaking Dawn. To what end? The ending is decidedly unsatisfying. We don't care about the characters enough to root for them. People die. Okay? At the same time, it was an enjoyable watch that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys movies that don't take themselves too seriously.
Screenwriting That Makes You Question Your Sanity
The Twilight Saga has some of the most insane and incomprehensible screenwriting and plot points of any franchise. Vampires that sparkle. Mind reading. Werewolves. Half-vampire demon babies that logistically-speaking shouldn't exist (no blood = no eggplant). As a concept, Blood & Chocolate exudes this chaotic energy. To be fair, the film was released almost two years earlier than the first Twilight movie, and the novel it was based on was first published in the 90s, so I wouldn't say it's a carbon copy of Twilight. But I would be remiss not to mention it in this list of movies that are so overwhelmingly terrible that they're actually kind of good. Whereas Twilight centred the stories of vampires, Blood & Chocolate went the opposite direction, focusing instead on werewolves. The film is set in Bucharest, Romania. It follows Vivian, a 19-year-old werewolf who inadvertently falls in love with a human, Aiden, a writer with a keen interest in werewolves. Here's where things get weird. Or weirder.
Vivian works in her Aunt Astrid's chocolate shop and is a member of a wolf pack led by Gabriel. Aunt Astrid is Gabriel's former mate with whom he has a child, but he left her because of an apparent pack rule that limits the length of matehood (mateship? mating?) to seven years. In reality, this seems like a pseudo-misogynistic way of abandoning an older lover for a younger make and model, but hey, who am I to judge? Now that he's left Astrid, Gabriel wants to mate with Vivian (who's 19!!!) on account of an obscure prophecy that predicts that the pairing will usher in a new age for the wolf pack. As I said, she's in love with Aiden, and also, that's gross, so she refuses. Cue some murder attempts, some actual murder, god-awful CGI all playing out against the backdrop of a soundtrack that sounds more suited to a 90s adult film than a supernatural, teen romance movie. This film is hilariously bad. I highly recommend it.
I think you need a special type of stomach reinforced with steel (and possibly alcohol) to sit through all of the movies I recommended today, but if you enjoyed Twilight, you might very well find a new favourite movie. At the very least, you'll get a kick out of hate-watching it. We should abandon the idea that movies need to be technically sound, flawless and perfectly conceived to be worthy of viewing. There is a space and a place for terrible cinema that's not trying too hard to be anything else. It doesn't need to be deep and inspire intense analytical thought. Sometimes, there's nothing better than sipping on a glass of wine with a friend and tucking in to enjoy a cringeworthy, awful, no-good, terrible, hilariously-bad teen movie.
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