In any literature class they teach you the importance of establishing conflict. Conflict is what drives a plot and makes it interesting. The problem is that in the 21st century it’s hard to define conflict. Morality is a lot more loose and hard to define. Even in super-hero movies, the line between good and bad is often blurred. Who would watch the Dark Knight if the Joker and Batman worked things out by talking? You’d have to be very good with the dialogue.
That’s why these vampire romances sort of add a nice dimension of conflict. You’re madly in love with someone you really want to eat and literally suck dry. Although I had my doubts about jumping on the band wagon watching Twilight but after the opening scene of the daughter moving away to a new town complete with sad 1960s rock music, I knew it would be good, though not in a conventional way.
In a word, the movie wins massively with casting to prop up a cliched and vacuous plot. You have to suspend your belief significantly when you see the Cullens (a vampire family) introduced in the movie, pale white goth-looking teens who look like vampires from a mile away keeping to themselves in a small town and nowhere to be seen when there’s sunlight. Of course Bella, the new girl, takes no time in figuring out that Edward and his family are vampires (though the entire town is oblivious for years).
What drives the movie is Bella’s romance with Edward because both the actors do such a great job at portraying an uneasy teenage love affair that you’re willing to forget the flimsy plot and sappy vows of eternal love.
Having said that, a lot of these vampire romances just leaves your head scratching. This is somehting that Twilight has in common with Vampire Diaries. Just to name a few:
- Your boyfriend is pale white and brooding with strange colored eyes
- He has zero social skills and is only interested in you
- Said boyfriend may sometimes be hovering over you at night watching you sleep
- Shows up at your house or in front of you at the oddest of moments
- Not to mention he would really like to eat you
- Prone to mood swings and other inexplicable behavior because they need to do or avoid “vampire type stuff”
- Just the general notion that these are men who are a couple hundred years old preying on teenage girls
Any artistic achievement of this genre probably began and ended with the original Dracula, but the themes introduced will always be universal and it seems to combine well with teenage angst.