Mix ‘Twilight’ and Buffy, add a dash of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter and a generous sprinkling of goth and you have this would-be tween sensation. Based on the novel by Cassandra Clare, it stars Lily Collins as Clary Fray, a Brooklyn teen who discovers she is a Shadowhunter by birth. Shadowhunters are a society of half-angel warriors who protect humanity against demons, apparently. When Clary’s mother disappears, sexy fellow Shadowhunter Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) guides her into their secret underworld. Along for the ride is besotted best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan). Let the love triangle commence!
It’s a potent mix for young fans that gets off to an entertaining, action-packed start with bursts of knowing humour. But it’s soon bogged down by an increasingly convoluted plot, an overindulgent running time and absurd dialogue (‘So Bach was a Shadowhunter?’). The film is at its best when camping it up in leather rather than taking itself so seriously. Here’s hoping the sequel is purposefully sillier – and considerably shorter.