Red Riding Hood (2011)
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Written by: David Johnson
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Billy Burke, Gary Oldman, Julie Christie, Lukas Haas, Max Irons, Shiloh Fernandez, Virginia Madsen
Red Riding Hood (2011)
Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is madly in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), an orphaned woodcutter. However, their relationship is in danger as her parents have arranged her to be married to the wealthier, Henry (Max Irons). Valerie and Peter plan to run away together but news of a wolf attack in the village halts their plans. Valerie’s older sister Lucy has been killed by a wolf which has hunted the village for two generations. It has never attacked the villagers, as they give their best livestock as a sacrifice in exchange for leaving the village in peace. However, the agreement has been broken. The men of the village storm the wolf’s cave and kill the beast, but upon the arrival of Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), they soon discover the beast still lives and takes human form during the day – a werewolf.
The villagers turn on one another and Valerie is worried who she can trust, especially with both Peter and Henry vying for her love. Soon the whole village feels the wrath of Father Solomon and his unorthadox measures to kill the wolf.
First off, the director of this film is the same director of the first Twilight film. Whilst you could say there are some comparisons (Peter’s quiff a la Edward Cullen), I think Red Riding Hood is much more a gothic horror fairy tale, and not some teen lovey dovey movie disguised as gothic.
We all kn0w the tale of Red Riding Hood. She gets stopped in the woods by a wolf, goes to grandma’s house and the wolf has ate grandma and is sat bolt upright in bed dressed in granny’s nighty, glasses and slippers, waiting to om nom nom Red Riding Hood and her fruit basket. Whilst this film takes the inspiration from the fairytale, it plays out a bit differently and with a much darker atmosphere.
The lead role of Valerie is played by Mamma Mia‘s Amanda Seyfried and I think she does a pretty good job. She is a girl who doesn’t belong to her village, she’s not a goody two-shoes, she’s a mischievious rascal who likes to capture cute, white bunny rabbits and torture them with her childhood friend and love, Peter. These two are outsiders in a close-knit village, which from the outset looks to be a place of kindness and tranquility. But we all know that places like that are riddled with secrets that eventually come out. And in this film, the wolf’s identity is not the only identity to be outed in the village, as everyone’s true colours bubble to the surface.
Gary Oldman loves to play the bad guy, and although he’s come to rescue the villagers from the torment and merciless killing by the wolf, he stops at nothing and for no-one to ensure the werewolf is killed.
Julie Christie plays Valerie’s grandmother, who lives by herself on the outskirts of the village. She’s quite a strong character and doesn’t depend on anyone else.
Peter is played by Shiloh Fernandez, a dark brooding soul who truly loves Valerie but knows he cannot provide for her the way that Henry can. But he can give her a life of happiness, and they both plan to elope together.
Max Irons is the fiance, Henry, who has loved Valerie from day dot and wishes to be with her, although he can see that the feelings are not mutual.
One thing I loved about the film was the setting. The trees have sharp pointy branches, the houses have spikes, a safety inspector would have a headache with this set. It’s a harsh cruel world out there and you have to deal with the cards you’ve been given. Thrive or die. The snow covered ground also adds a sense of isolation to the village, especially when the villagers start pointing the finger at each other as the village descends into chaos. The residents blend into the background but Valerie, wearing her blue dress and her red hooded cloak, stands out from the crowd. She is different and the wolf knows this too….
This a good film, whilst not as dark as I had hoped, is a good enough gothic horror that is a lot darker than any other mainstream film I have seen in a long while. The acting is done well, but could be better in parts (Peter and Henry’s characters could be more three dimensional, whilst Gary Oldman went a bit pantomime villain in parts). I definately recommend a watch as I feel it puts a nice spin on a well known fairy tale.
[pt-filmtitle]Red Riding Hood[/pt-filmtitle]