Thanks to the popularity of such criminally bad cinema as the Twilight series, the past few years have seen a rise of a new sub-genre of Teen films. Based on classic Gothic fairytales (or at least upon the mythical creatures of these stories) films like Red Riding Hood and Beastly have taken these age-old stories and transformed them into modern tales of angst-ridden teenage romance. Released yesterday on Blu-ray and DVD, Beastly is simply the next in this particular strand of cinema that will undoubtedly be around for a number of years Kyle Kingson (Alex Pettyfer) is a rich, spoiled teenager, whose only cares in the world are his self-described dashing good looks and subsequent popularity. Running for Student Body President in his prep school elections, Kyle makes his feelings on looks patently clear, enraging Kendra (Mary Kate Olsen), the school freak whos Gothic wardrobe and facial tattoo cause the other students to consider her a witch. When Kendra publically humiliates him by defacing his election posters, Kyle decides its payback time. However, when his prank backfires he finds that Kendras retaliation involves placing a curse on him that turns him into a hideously disfigured beast. Learning that he has only a single year to find somebody who can utter the words I love you despite his appearance, he will remain a freak forever, Kyle slips into despair. Forced into seclusion by his equally vain and self-absorbed father (Peter Krause), Kyle has only his maid Zola (Lisa Gay Hamilton) and a blind tutor called Will (Neil Patrick Harris) for company. After months of depression, they manage to convince him to go out and find the special someone needed to break the curse. Deciding to seek out Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens) a student at his former school who he briefly noticed and chatted to before the transformation Kyle seizes an opportunity to keep him with her when her drug-addicted father lands her in trouble with a local gang. Adopting the new name Hunter, Kyle tries to win Lindys lovebut will he be able to before the spell is cast forever? Having never viewed Twilight (or the multitude of similarly styled Gothic teen romances) I thought that Beastly might be lost on me. However, having a deep love for Disneys Beauty and the Beast (its the first Disney film I remember seeing at the cinema), I thought that I may be able to engage on some level Whilst this is by no means an excellent film, or even of the same calibre as the Disney animation, I found myself rather entertained by this modernised take on the classic fairytale of vanity, ugliness and true beauty being on the inside. Whilst there wasnt a singing cockney teapot or amorous French candlestick in sight, the familiar elements of the age-old story remain within the narrative and adapt well to their contemporary New York setting. Beastly is actually much more than a simple teen romance or a vulgar re-imagining of a classic fairytale. Opening to the electro beats of Lady Gagas Vanity, a string sexualised advertising images that are supposed to reflect societys idea of perfection flash across the screen. Kyles opening speech talks about how its the beautiful people in life who succeed, that they dont even have to be intelligent, as their looks will see them through life. His father, Rob a television news anchor - is similarly minded, a symbol of how by simply being physically attractive you can be successful financially and in popularity. However, the film displaces its own mantra in a number of ways. Firstly, Kyles dad is a terrible father, more wrapped up in his own appearance and suitably vain career than he is in his sons wellbeing or happiness. Shipping Kyle off to a townhouse away from Manhattan after his transformation, Rob never visits his physically repulsive son. Its also obvious in the fact that the films outwardly odd and ugly character, Kendra (played by former child sweetheart Mary Kate Olsen), is the only really interesting character. The glue that welds the story together, Kendra is a symbol self-expression and being who you want to be a positive and important message for the hoards of teen audiences that flock to this sort of film. Whilst the film is suitably clichéd and predictable in many ways it remains an enjoyable and engaging albeit throwaway watch. This is bolstered by some fine performances, primarily from the supporting characters. Whilst Alex Pettyfer is suitably full of teen angst as Kyle, his dramatic range is limited and he has played better in previous films. Vanessa Hudgens as his love interest has progressed from the dire High School Musical franchise, but her performance is not that accomplished and certainly not exceptional. Mary Kate Olsen appears to relish her role and pulls off both the unique wardrobe and make up to become comically malicious and about as camp as any fairytale villain (ironically though the villain is certainly the champion here, helping Kyle break free from his warped perception of beauty and the world). The best performances come from Lisa Gay Hamilton and Neil Patrick Harris as Kyles staff. Both display a comic wit that breaks through the dark and brooding storylines, offering comic relief when the film begins to take itself too seriously. Hamilton is perfect as Kyles burgeoning conscience, a woman of grace and kindness that make her beautiful despite her dowdy appearance and working class status. Harris who is blind acts as Kyles sight, helping him see people for who they are, not just what they look like. With a satirical wit and an array of one-liners, Harris makes his character Will one of the most likeable within the film.