Director Catherine Hardwicke brings a worldwide literary phenomenon to life in this story of an unusual romance between a teenage girl and a mysterious vampire. Based on the best-selling novel by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight focuses on two young lovers, swept away by destiny, who tamper with the delicate balance between the hunter and the hunted with dangerous consequences.

A cultural phenomenon with a dedicated global fan base, Meyer’s four-book series spent a combined total of 91 weeks at No. 1 on The New York Times best seller list, and have sold 17 million copies in 37 countries. There are more than 350 fan sites devoted to the series.

When Bella Swan’s (Kristen Stewart) mother starts travelling with her new husband, the 17-year old leaves her home in Phoenix and returns to live with her father in the small town of Forks, Washington. After the sun of Arizona, Forks’ misty grey climate is as exotic to Bella as are her new classmates, the Cullen family. Impossibly good-looking and extremely private, they are unlike anyone she has ever met – with good reason.

The Cullens are a family of immortal blood drinkers. For centuries, they have disciplined themselves to consume only animal blood, living the vampire equivalent of a “vegetarian” lifestyle and living as normal a life as possible and keeping to themselves to protect their secret. Bella becomes especially fascinated with Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), but her new classmate keeps her at arm’s length.

In truth, his attraction to her is overwhelming and he fears that his vampire nature will overcome his self-control. Bella is the soul mate he has searched 90 years for, but her scent threatens to send him into an uncontrollable feeding frenzy. Unable to resist spending time with Bella, Edward reveals himself to her in the hope that his secret will repel her, but the teenager only becomes more infatuated. Teenagers are like that.

As Bella discovers more about Edward’s world, she throws herself headlong into a thrilling and terrifying romance, attracting the attention of a group of nomadic vampires who lack the Cullens’ squeamishness about human blood and target her as their next victim.

Meyer claims the idea for Twilight came from a dream. “When I woke up, I wanted to know happened next. That first day I wrote 10 pages. When I finished it, no one was more shocked than me that I had actually finished a book.” While its huge teen audience will doubtless catapult the movie well up the charts this holiday season, but for others the thrill part of this experience will be lacking. With a largely unknown cast whose acting talent leaves much to be desired, the adaptation of a peculiar novel with a unique love story simply does not work in this instance.

In a nutshell, this is one for the fans only, with all the rest – and especially those who haven’t read the book – left floundering in bewilderment. It does have it moments – especially when Bella hops on to Edward’s back for a flight across the treetops, and he coos: “Better hold on tight, spider monkey.” Somewhat like the Virginia Andrews Attic series of a decade ago, Twilight does have an attractive dark romance – but without anything resembling a coherent plot. Even the ending is forced, a prom dance where the star-crossed lovers wheel around the floor before an extra scene is tagged on whose only purpose is setting up the inevitable sequel.