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Derrick’s Rating: 6/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 4.0/10
(3 reviews total)
Red Riding Hood has been on the radar of film fans for quite some time. The trailers, posters, and stills have done a good job on selling the audience (most of which will be Twi-hards) into thinking this is a gothic fairy tale with horror overtones. This is pretty much the case; this is a horror film in the same sense that the “Twilight” series is. Twilight has a vampire and Red Riding Hood has a werewolf. Therefore, by default, they qualify in the horror genre, if only on the edge of it.
The story is about Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), a young woman in a small village that has been plagued by a werewolf. After a fatal attack occurs leaving Valerie’s sister dead, a group of men go into the dark forest and bring back a wolf’s head. Thinking the werewolf is dead, they begin to celebrate only to be interrupted by Solomon (Gary Oldman), a veteran werewolf and witch hunter. It turns out the werewolf is one of the villagers and it wants Valerie.
Red Riding Hood at its core is a romantic fairy tale that happens to have a werewolf. There were some suspenseful parts and a few jump scares, but this is pretty much a gothic love story. Girlfriends will eat it up and want their boyfriends to journey into the movie theater with them. This movie won’t make you roll your eyes near as much as the first Twilight, also directed by Catherine Hardwicke, but it does have cliches and some cheesy moments. Also, it sets up way too many red herrings. It seems the filmmakers want you to suspect every other person who looks at Valerie is a werewolf. There are some suspenseful and tense moments and the revelation of the werewolf is a surprise, but it’s almost an unsatisfying conclusion.
The atmosphere and set designs lend a lot to the film, almost making it the level of high production as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though the quality of storytelling is never even remotely close to that brilliant film. The PG-13 is in full force here with not too much objectional, just some violence and heavy making out. Oldman delivers the standout performance of the entire film as the werewolf/witch hunter who believes that unsual means are the only way to truly serve God. He goes so far as having silver fingernails to slay the beast.
The cast behind the film is tremendous. Seyfried sells her character and makes you feel for her. Another great performance would have to be Shiloh Fernandez (as Peter, Valerie’s forbidden love interest). I have seen Fernandez in quite a few good indie films, particularly the criminally ignored indie horror flick Deadgirl. It was good to see him break into the mainstream spotlight. Billy Burke (Bella’s father in the “Twilight” series and the main villian in Drive Angry 3D) does a good job as always. The look of the werewolf, what should have been the film’s most important element, was definitely lacking. It was all CGI, but it was merely okay. The conclusion of the film also lacked a real satisfaction of having seen a good movie. It leaves you a little cold.
Red Riding Hood’s cinematography and acting standout when compared to the normal teeny-bopper BS that we are served regularly at the movie theaters. In the end, this movie is merely a romantic fairy tale through and through, with a nice little “happily ever after” bow tied on top before the end credits roll. It just happens to be exactly what cine-philes are expecting, which can be taken for better or worse. A fractured fairy tale.
Red Riding Hood
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Written by David Johnson
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Max Irons, Gary Oldman, Shiloh FernandezOther Player Affinity Reviews
Dinah thought: “Red Riding Hood is right in the vein of Twilight. It features a bland protagonist pursued by two Abercrombie models- one blonde and one brunette for easy identification. The performances aren’t too bad, thanks to a decent cast but the story is still mundane and sanitized. The action is few and far between as is the romance to keep it safe for 12-year-old eyes. When it comes down to it Red Riding Hood is targeted to a certain audience, and only that crowd will enjoy it.” Rating: 4/10
Simon thought: “Fully independent of any Twilight comparisons negative or positive, Red Riding Hood is simply an atrocious mess: scriptless, horrendously acted and boasting a story that could have just as easily have been constructed by literally eating the book Little Red Riding Hood and regurgitating it on paper. Although Amanda Seyfried may have some fittingly large eyes, that does not excuse her involvement in this project, nor does that of Gary Oldman; they are simply too good to be associated with such worthless drivel. The male leads however seem right at home in this lifeless offering, with one love interest Henry (Max Irons) stumbling throughout the production with little more than a handsome face and the other Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) mirroring his profession as The Woodsman in his performance — as wooden as a soggy log. Fernandez sports a consistent sneer and his expression never deviates which begs the question why the gorgeous Seyfried would ever be attracted to him. Lovely production values is the only thing Red Riding Hood has going for it, though unfortunately the inhabitants of the medieval village are dressed like runway models boasting the newest avant garde grunge look. Avoid this movie like the curse at the story’s center.” Rating: 2/10
Player Affinity Composite Rating: 4.0/10