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
IN CINEMAS NOW
RUNNING TIME: 101 mins
REVIEWED BY: Dr Lenera
Valerie is a young woman living in a small village. Her parents have arranged for her to marry Henry, the successful village blacksmith. However, Valerie grew up with brooding outsider Peter, and plans to run away with him. Then Valerie’s sister is killed by the wolf that once terrorised the village but had not attacked anyone for a while because he had been left food. Some of the villagers hunt for the werewolf and supposedly kill it, but then werewolf hunter Father Solomon arrives, who warns them that the werewolf could be somebody who lives in the village….
Although there’s already been the very fine A Company Of Wolves, the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood is so rich in symbolism and metaphor, not to mention potential horror, that it could easily use a somewhat closer film adaptation. Red Riding Hood certainly succeeds visually, with Mandy Walker’s gorgeous photography really evoking a sense of a fairy tale world. There’s a really early shot of two children in a garden which is one of the most beautiful shots I’ve seen in ages. The script vies between being a toned-down werewolf horror movie with a typically poor CG creature, a fairly gripping mystery which at least kept me in surprise, and, unfortunately, a sub-Twilight love triangle, replete with some really atrocious dialogue. Gary Oldman clearly relishes a chance to chew the scenery as Father Solomon, but Amanda Seyfried is her usual doe-eyed, constantly surprised self, and the two males vying for her attention seem to be competing to see who can give the worst, blandest performance. Despite this, Red Riding Hood does hold the attention, aided by an anachronistic but quite effective, atmospheric score by Alex Heffes and Brian Reitzell. It kept me guessing as to its outcome which has got to be a good thing, and climaxes with a rather effective enacting of the original fairy tale. Not great, but nowhere near as bad as you’ve been led to believe.