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12 Movies like Twilight: Otherworldly Romance

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Jane Howarth itcherIf you’re struggling to find a substitute for the Cullens, and that plane ticket to Forks ain’t happening, maybe these movies like ‘Twilight’ will help you out? ~ Jane Howarth

“You don’t know how long I’ve waited for you.”

Bella and Edward’s supernatural love story wraps so many aspects together in one addictive package. Love, vampires, family, peril. The best movies similar to ‘Twilight’ echo these things, and more.

Are there any other films like ‘Twilight’? The short answer is, yes! And the long answer? ‘Twilight’ is irreplaceable, but I think you’ll like these alternatives.

Each one offers otherworldly romance, and, as a bonus, just like ‘Twilight’, they’re based on a book or book series.


Movies Similar to ‘Twilight’…

‘Beautiful Creatures’ (Richard LaGravansese, 2013)

“There’s a new world mama. It ain’t all dark, and it ain’t all light, and it ain’t all ours.”

‘Beautiful Creatures’ is a Southern Gothic with a high school slant. The simplest way to describe it is as a gender-reversed ‘Twilight’, where Ethan falls for beautiful but dangerous Lena.

Unlike Edward Cullen, who’s had a century to reconcile his true nature, Lena’s witch-like powers are just starting to shine through. As if that wasn’t enough, her magical identity is fluid for now – but soon she must choose the dark or the light.

Jeremy Irons, Emmy Rossum and Emma Thompson are great, but honestly?  I just can’t take my eyes off the fantastically creepy Gothic mansion. And if Beautiful Creatures leaves you wanting more?

The novel makes up the first instalment of the four-part ‘Caster Chronicles’, so get reading!

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With its school setting and a central family that’s mistrusted for their unusual ways, it’s a close match.

‘Red Riding Hood’ (Catherine Hardwicke, 2011)

“Do you know how you kill a tiger, Father Auguste? You tie up your best goat and wait.”

Coming from ‘Twilight’ director, Catherine Hardwicke, this standalone fantasy adds to the Grimm fairytale.

The story’s bound to make a great match – a girl fights for love and family as a supernatural terror threatens her town. But more than that – this film looks and feels right.

Remember the way ‘Twilight’ captures that hazy, greenish Washington sunlight described so perfectly in the novels? ‘Red Riding Hood’ has its own dark, cold, forest light, occasionally broken up by a glowing blood-red.

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This film is higher on bloody moments but the plot, characters and aesthetic make it a great follow-up.

‘Tuck Everlasting’ (Jay Russell, 2002)

“What we Tucks have, you can’t call it living. We just… are. We’re like rocks, stuck at the side of a stream.”

First, the sweetest of the ‘Twilight’ substitutes. And if you’re anything like me, it’ll break your heart when it ends.

Not because of the story (don’t worry, no spoilers). It’s just so wistful and wonderful, you’ll never want that enchanted, 19th Century world to go away. Fair warning – it’s a vampire-free zone.

Jesse and his family live an eternal life, but it’s not at the expense of people. That doesn’t make Winnie’s decision any easier though. Like ‘Twilight’s’ Bella, she’s forced to choose between her mortal life with her family and an immortal one with her love.

If you want to read the original story, it’s by Natalie Babbitt and is a ‘fiercely loved’ (Melanie Rehak, New York Times, May 2002) American children’s classic.

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The plot, ideas and dilemmas are similar, but overall, it’s much cuter.

‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ (Jim Jarmusch, 2013)

“Please, feel free to piss in my garden.”

In modern day Detroit, Tom Hiddleston’s Adam vampire-musician lives in solitude, apart from occasional visits from a trusted assistant, until his centuries old partner, Tilda Swinton’s Eve, comes to find him.

But the quiet life of this ethical vampire is about to be horribly disrupted.

I didn’t connect this movie with a book source until I read a fascinating interview with the director, where he discussed his inspiration. He drew from equally humorous and melancholy reflections of ‘The Diaries of Adam and Eve’ Mark Twain, 1906), the author’s final book.

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While Bella and the Cullens enjoy philosophical musings and languid moments, the characters of ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ revel in them – no proms here, but plenty of ethical vampire choices.


If You Like ‘Twilight’, You Will Like…

All right, they’re not so recent, but this ‘Twilight’ fan can definitely make room on my DVD shelf for these essential supernatural romances.

‘Interview with the Vampire’ (Neil Jordan, 1994)

“Who will take care of me, my love, my dark angel, when you are gone?”

Anne Rice’s Southern Gothic masterpiece in movie form stars Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise as the immortals, Christian Slater as the interviewer, and a young Kirsten Dunst.

This movie spends more time diving into the past than present day, making it a big change from ‘Twilight’. But that means sumptuous costumes, dramatic sets and all kinds of elegant things.

Content wise, it’s full of all the moral dilemmas of being a vampire with a conscience.  The characters struggle with their own and each other’s sense of boundaries, as they travel the world, leaving human and supernatural casualties in their wake.

Universal Pictures have recently snapped up the rights to ‘The Vampire Chronicles’, so perhaps we’ll be seeing a reboot soon?

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A must-see for ‘Twilight’ fans based on the book series alone, but the film’s atmosphere is somehow similar, too.

‘Meet Joe Black’ (Joe Brest, 1998)

“Love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. I say, fall head over heels.”

Why so much Brad Pitt today?  These movies just seemed like a great fit, so perhaps we can call him the ‘90s Robert Pattinson – feel free to debate that concept in the comments!

Death (in the form of Brad Pitt, because why not?) wants to learn a little more about the human lives he cuts short every day, but things take a turn when he falls in love.

Sadly, no accompanying book series here. Based on the play ‘Death Takes a Holiday’ (Alberto Casella, 1924), ‘Meet Joe Black’ finds its literary inspiration in a different place. But Casella’s play is available in print form, and if you don’t mind the change of format, why not try it out?

Back to the movie, though. The business world setting shifts the overall atmosphere, but I think Joe Black and Edward Cullen have plenty in common.

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Introspective thoughts on the meaning of life, death, and souls – check.  But the business setting and black comedy side make it a slightly different movie.

‘What Dreams May Come’ (Vincent Ward, 1998)

“What some folks call impossible, is just stuff they haven’t seen before.”

With a suicide theme woven into the plot, it’s a little uncomfortable to watch following Robin Williams’ death, but persevere for a really sweet story and some good work from Williams.

A couple’s children are killed in a car accident, and not long after, the husband falls victim to the same fate. When his wife dies, he journeys across the epic landscape of the afterlife to find her.

Based on ‘What Dreams May Come’ (Richard Matheson, 1978), it’s a movie that connects surprisingly well with Bella’s terror of losing Edward and their wish to stay together forever.

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This movie swaps eternal life in our world for the strange world of the afterlife, but with the story of true love lasting forever at its heart, this warm movie is unexpectedly similar.


Now, How about Something a Little Spookier?

Catherine Hardwicke’s movies like ‘Twilight’ and ‘Red Riding Hood’ are known for their supernatural romance storylines, but they also stand out for their atmosphere and style.

I loved seeing Washington’s hazy green light set the tone in ‘Twilight’, and the chilly blues and flashes of crimson in ‘Red Riding Hood’, so I’m all in favour of our next movies’ visual concepts.

‘The Village’ (M. Night Shyamalan, 2004)

“Heed the warning bell, for they are coming.”

A deadly danger hides in the woods beyond a village, as residents grow increasingly more afraid of the monsters and each other. The colour red is banned, used only by the creatures as a threatening reminder of their presence.

Maybe that’s the way ‘Twilight’s’ Forks was, before the vampires and werewolves first set out their ground rules? Either way, you’ll love the ‘Red Riding Hood’ style palette.

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I like the way the colour red is outlawed here – it’s like a magnified version of that drop of Bella’s blood at the Cullens’ birthday party, or ‘Red Riding Hood’s’ cloak – and we also get a spooky story of deadly danger. What’s not to love?

‘Byzantium’ (Neil Jordan, 2012)

“I’m never merciful, and knowledge is a fatal thing.”

A vampire and her daughter attempt to live undercover in a seaside town. They’ve successfully hidden from the world for centuries, but a series of flashbacks, a creative writing assignment, and romance threaten their secrecy.

It’s not a typical supernatural romance (the romance is just one part of the story, and there are some dark moments), and that’s what makes this movie so interesting – it’s hard to pigeonhole.

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An unconventional vampire story questions how to deal with, and share (or not), eternal life. In other words, it covers a lot of ‘Twilight’ themes from a completely different angle, with a cloaked Volturi equivalent.

‘Sleepy Hollow’ (Tim Burton, 1999)

“Watch your heads.”

We can usually rely on Tim Burton for a strong aesthetic, not least in the atmospheric Washington Irving tale of a headless horseman terrorising a New England town.

Like Catherine Hardwicke’s films, the supernatural feeling seeps right into every frame, even the fairly ordinary ones, with everything taking place in the sort of hazy light that makes you believe there could be anything out there.

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Aside from the similar (if a good bit older) town, the movie’s look, feel and cast of outsiders make ‘Sleepy Hollow’ a great alternative with a horror tinge.

‘Great Expectations’ (Mike Newell, 2012)

“You bite your nails? Its a bad habit. People always tell you that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Bullshit its your hands, thats the sign of a gentleman.”

Is anybody better at hinting at the supernatural than Charles Dickens? This has got to be one of the most otherworldly movies without any actual spirits or strangeness, but I think you’ll agree that Miss Havisham just about qualifies under both those categories.

‘Great Expectations’ is the story of Pip, a Victorian blacksmith’s apprentice whose anonymous benefactor sponsors him to become a London gentleman. But we also follow his fascination with the cold Estella, a runaway convict, and all parts of society. Want more like this? I’ve picked out more small town gothic movies like ‘Twilight’ and ‘Beautiful Creatures’, so why not see which other films are waiting for you?

This movie feels more otherworldly than it really is, but who am I to complain? If you like ‘Twilight’, you’ll love this world of all things gothic.

‘The Wolfman’ (Joe Johnston, 2010)

“It is said there is no sin in killing a beast, only in killing a man. But where does one begin and the other end.”

Between effects and filters, this movie is one big cobweb of atmosphere. There are a few grisly moments as the wolfman goes on a murderous rampage (it’s nowhere near as accommodating as Jacob’s pack), as first we wonder where it came from, then when it’ll strike again.

Just for extra fun, our hero isn’t exactly perfect, and a complicated romance lurks in the shadows.

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It turns out deadly werewolves love decaying mansions, which means plenty of supernatural atmosphere and chilling transformations for us.


Do You Know Any More Good Movies Similar to Twilight?

So, tell me, have you seen any of these movies already?

If you did, what did you love most? And if you haven’t, which good movies similar to ‘Twilight’ have you found and – dare I say it – any contenders for the ‘Twilight’ crown?

If you’ve seen all of those movies and feel like losing yourself in the fictional world of a book, why not give one of our books like ‘Twilight’ a go?

If you prefer the recommendations on video… Kerry Provenzano gives you the full playlist on Youtube.


We do appreciate and encourage your comments. We always reply to them so please don’t be shy.
Hi, I’m Jane, BA (Drama, Film and TV) and MA (Cultural and Creative Industries). When I’m not writing about creative things, I’m designing or planning them. If you’re brave enough to risk an avalanche, look behind the stacks of books and DVDs and you’ll find me balancing a cup of tea, a handful of knitting and a cupcake.
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