Film review: Red Riding Hood (2011), directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Set some time in the curious past, there’s a little town in the woods plagued by a werewolf. The townsfolk keep leaving it offerings and everything seems sort of okay until a young woman called Suzette (Virginia Madsen) is killed. Then they decide to call in a clergyman, Solomon (Gary Oldman), who is a werewolf expert. Surely he can rid their town of the beast once and for all!
They go out hunting for it and they kill a wolf, so therefore everything must be safe now. Solomon points out that a werewolf killed in its wolf form turns back into a human, and they shouldn’t think they’re out of the woods (pun intended) just yet.
Suzette lived with her father Cesaire (Billy Burke) and older sister Valerie (Amanda Seyfried). Valerie has always fancied a boy called Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons) instead. Is it possible that one of these boys could in fact be the werewolf?
Also starring Julie Christie as the Grandmother and Lukas Haas as Father Auguste.
Let’s see: A girl with two boys lusting after her, Burke as her dad and it’s directed by Hardwicke? With plenty of scenery porn? And werewolves? And the main character is a girl who has some sort of special connection with the werewolf? What else does that remind me of? Hmmmmm …
I could technically end this review here, but with the added comment of “Valerie can probably hold her own and doesn’t faint at the sight of blood” but that’s perhaps selling Red Riding Hood a bit short. It’s not as bad as Twilight, even if it doesn’t have the same fanbase, but … nah, because it reminds of Twilight so much, it takes away a bit of the enjoyment for me.
Gary Oldman’s character is a nasty piece of work. He’s all kinds of wrong, as is that big elephant thing. What an awful man! Still, I like Gary Oldman as an actor and thought he was very good at being a very bad person.
As a concept, there’s not much to link the film with the old fairy tale. Sure, Valerie eventually gets a red riding hood and has a grandmother who lives in a cottage further in the woods, but that’s about it. The wolf in the fairy tale wasn’t a werewolf. Although, I have to say what they did with stones in the end was a nice (?) touch. Had forgotten about that.
The ending was a let-down as well. There was an easy solution for a happily ever after, which would have involved some DIY, but instead it was something more akin to the end of Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End. (Then again, I never could figure out why she couldn’t just stay on board with him, as it didn’t seem like the cursed ship had to spend time under water.) But I digress.
It’s an okay film, some lovely landscape shots, aside from the flowers that look incredibly fake, and the actors do have nice costumes. Granny’s house was pretty sweet too – having a staircase chopped out of a big, fallen tree looked fab. Just wish the film had been less Twilight and more, well, Red Riding Hood.
3 out of 5 haystacks.