Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Written by: David Johnson
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Julie Christie
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Review by: Sarah Kumley
Teen books (and movies) these days are often about one of three things: vampires, werewolves or forbidden love. Although Red Riding Hood is a reimagining of the well-known fairy tale, it still manages to contain two of the three criteria to snag teenagers’ attention. Throw in a love triangle and attractive leads and the package is complete to draw in a crowd. There is sufficient tension throughout the movie and the sets look like a medieval village, but the story is mostly predictable and unforgettable.
Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, who is in love with her childhood friend Peter (Fernandez), but has instead been promised to marry the wealthy son of the blacksmith, Henry (Irons). Right before she and Peter have the chance to run away together, Valerie’s sister, Lucy, is killed by the werewolf that terrorizes their village of Daggerhorn. The murder is unusual because the town had been sacrificing their best livestock to the beast in an effort to maintain a sort of truce.
Tired of being held captive by the werewolf, the villagers decide to get rid of it once and for all. Father Solomon (Oldman) is a famous werewolf hunter called upon to assist. With Solomon’s arrival, events are set into motion that will make everyone second guess all the people close to them as the villagers are informed that the werewolf is a human during the day and must be stopped before the blood moon wanes.
Valerie is confronted by the werewolf and it threatens to destroy the village if she doesn’t come with it. The secret gets out and Father Solomon uses Valerie as bait, while all those who care for her are under suspicion and accusations are hurled at one person after another. Could it be brooding Peter, reclusive Grandmother, unrequited-in-love Henry or even jealous best friend Prudence? And can they be stopped before the whole village is torn apart?
The sets and costumes of the movie look great and do a great job of portraying a medieval village. The music is very tribal and edgy sounding to add drama and build suspense as the story evolves. However, the movie feels too full of longing stares from dark corners, suspicious glances between villagers and crazy, ranting speeches from Father Solomon to have much of a story. And there are silly flashes of fantasies, such as Valerie walking up a snow-covered mountain in a longer version of her red cape with some mystery man, that seem to have little, if anything to do with the story or serve a purpose. Overall, Red Riding Hood is not a terrible movie, but one should not sit down to watch it expecting more than a fluffy piece of teen romance with a love triangle and a dash of suspense.
Red Riding Hood is now available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital platforms.
For more info, redridinghood.warnerbros.com
Pads & Panels received a digital copy of the movie courtesy of the studio for review purposes.