Red Riding Hood (May Contain Spoilers)

Obviously taking the majority of the storyline from the original children’s tale with a darker twist, Red Riding Hood takes place in a small medieval village which is plagued by a werewolf roaming around the outside forests. Living in this village is Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), a young girl who is torn between two men – the dark, brooding outsider woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) and the man she is arranged to be married to, the rich and young Henry (Max Irons). Three guesses which one she goes for? Unfortunately for Valerie, after the villagers start hunting it with the help of notorious werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), it becomes apparent that she has a deep connection with the wolf terrorizing the village. Solomon tells the people the hard truth –the wolf is someone within the village. It then becomes a village-wide hunt to find out who the wolf is while Valerie fears the wolf is closer to her than she thinks… Starting to sound a little familiar? Possibly like some other supernatural franchise with a similar style to this one? Yes, that’s what I thought too.

I’ll be the first to admit that when I saw this film was being made, my mind (like many others) immediately thought “Really? Another Twilight? Why do we need that?” While it’s unfortunate in some respects that this film bears an uncanny resemblance to Twilight, and the fact that Catherine Hardwick is also directing this film and has her name followed by “…From the director of Twilight”, there’s no denying that particular franchise has done well for itself. So the fact that these two are apparently so closely related comes across as a bit of a double-edged sword, or a back-handed compliment from someone you don’t like but are sort of impressed by.

After seeing Red Riding Hood, and gritting through all the “Twilight School of Film-Making” parts, the majority of the film doesn’t actually have too much in common with the vampire franchise other than the landscapes look very familiar, it bears a resemblance in the love story and Shiloh Fernandez was at one point a would-be Edward Cullen. The film that Red Riding Hood actually reminded me most of was a slightly tamer Sleepy Hollow, which was actually a good film. So in that respect, it comes across more like the film Catherine Hardwicke would have made Twilight into if she had more of a budget behind it and more options for casting.

The only thing that became a little tedious about Red Riding Hood was the deliberate pointing to who the wolf wouldn’t be through characters accusing others of how they could be the wolf. It almost became easier to work out who it would be from who hadn’t been accused of being the wolf by the end of the film. It’s a cheap technique in these films sometimes, and normally works out better if no-one gets suspicious of other people, as that way everyone remains potentially guilty until the big reveal at the end. But that possibly just comes from watching too many of these films!

Credit where credit is due, Red Riding Hood does keep you guessing a little bit as the film progresses and the wolf itself makes an impact in the small amount of screen time it gets. But what is perhaps most impressive about the film is that it manages to achieve in about an hour what it has so far taken the Twilight films three movies to achieve – the establishing of a woman torn between two men, falling for one who isn’t right for her but everyone seems to be rooting for anyway, having a connection with supernatural beasts out to get her and ultimately coming out the other side stronger for the experience. All rounded off within the two hour mark. It’s Twilight Lite – all the action, all the story, and only one-third of the fat!

Red Riding Hood gets 6 out of 10 from me for being entertaining and a bit original, but still playing a little to the masses as part of a trend of “gothy” films.

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2 Comments

  1. HAHA 1/3 of the fat? Did she say “What big eyes you have!”? I really think it could of been more of a scary movie. I am interested in seeing the story play out but don’t know if I would just be thinking of twilight the whole time.

    • There was a whole dream sequence with her Grandma where she says the whole “What big eyes you have…” bit, at the point where they’re directing attention to the possibility of it being the Grandma whodunnit. It’s a bit impossible to not think of Twilight, especially with the narrated intro and everything like that. It could have easily been more scary, but they wanted to keep the appeal to Teenagers as well, so they couldnt really give it a higher age rating.


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