Catherine Hardwicke, the woman behind the mega-successful Twilight series, turns one of the world’s most loved fairy tales into an unabashed daily soap adaptation. She could have waited for the Twilight prequel and happily revisited the werewolf-vampire-doe-eyed-gal territory rather than making Red Riding Hood look like the unofficial fourth installment of the werewolf-vampire-doe-eyed-gal series.
In a sleepy little village Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) loves Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) but her mother (Virginia Madsen) wants her to hook up with Henry (Max Irons), the richer one. The lovers decide to make a dash for it but the cursed werewolf that troubles their existence decides to kill a human, Lucie, Valerie’s sister. By breaking years of truce the village decides to kill the werewolf but in the bargain Henry’s father dies and Henry holds Peter responsible for his loss.
Enter the werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman on a roller-coaster) who tells them that the werewolf is actually a human who turns into the deadly killer at night. Later that night Valerie is attacked by werewolf who talks to her and spares her.
Suddenly Valerie starts looking at the people around her rather suspiciously and everyone right from her sinisterly motivated grandmother (Julie Christe) to her father (Billy Burke), Peter, Henry, even Father Solomon give her reasons to believe that they could be the werewolf.
Red Riding Hood tries to build a certain mood in order to impress upon you that it’s a horror film and you should be scared but this is far from anything that could scare you. Shot like a dream that has been dreamt far too many times in films like Twilight or any fantasy laden Hollywood film, Red Riding Hood takes itself a little too seriously. The characters look worried on cue, they run in fear when demanded; they indulge in merry making by drinking and dancing the night away and yet end up looking like cardboard cut-outs.
The acting also looks very school play like; Seyfried’s huge eyes do most of the talking as she just doesn’t care to emote; Shiloh Fernandez is a complete disaster thanks to his Robert Pattinson hangover and Max Irons’ Henry is the made from the same mould that created Prince Caspian from the Narnia series–nothing new there. Christie and Oldman just have one motive–to swagger as much as possible and then a little more.
The screenplay is a cesspool of stupidity in the name of substance–Valerie loves Peter who hates Henry who loves Valerie but was the object of Valerie’s sister’s desire but in reality Henry’s Lucie half-brother…after a little while you just don’t bother. Rather you look at the obviously stupid things in the film–all of Solomon’s henchmen are tough multi-racial men–Blacks, Asians, and what have you; Valerie drinks and dances with her best friend Prudence to make Peter feel jealous who to get over her is dancing with a girl he doesn’t even like.
A few moments later Peter gets in the mood and just can’t keep her paws off Valerie; whoever said it’s these days that boys got happy looking at some ‘girl-on-girl action’! Avoid.
Red Riding Hood Rating: 1/5
Red Riding Hood Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie
Red Riding Hood Written by: David Johnson
Red Riding Hood Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke