Sunday, April 3, 2011

Movie Review: Red Riding Hood

Title: Red Riding Hood
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Studio: Warner Bros.
Genre: Fantasy/Horror
Rating: PG-13
Length: 100 min. 
Release Date: March 11th, 2011
Notable Actors: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons
Quick Rating: 2/5
Valerie (Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie's older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon's arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon... (from Warner Bros.)
So I thought I’d try something a little different and try reviewing a movie - specifically a movie with a book companion. I haven’t actually read the book version of Red Riding Hood yet, but I plan to soon, so I can’t compare the two, but I wanted to share my thoughts on the film itself. Especially now that its been out for several weeks, and anyone who planned to see it has seen it, and I can maybe get away with a couple of spoilers! ;D

And where do I begin with that? The trailer has been absolutely everywhere for months now. The excitement has been building, and everyone’s been saying how awesome this film must be, because look at that stunning trailer! Boy, was I wrong. I actually felt a little bad about spending the money to go see this.

I will start off by saying that visually, this movie is gorgeous. Amanda Seyfried is beautiful and angelic as always. Shiloh Fernandez was appropriately dark and appealing, and well, Max Irons looks like Prince William imo. (And as a side note, if he were a couple of years younger, he would so fit the bill for Peeta from The Hunger Games.)

Who didn’t fall in love with the image of the long red cloak on the side of the mountain? The dark allure of the of the love triangle, the terror of the wolf. This film held so much promise, and it just fell flat.

The characters lacked depth. There was no chemistry between either of the “couples” for me, and even the “steamy” hay-rolling scene wasn’t even…steamy. There was no tension, no terror, no claustrophobic feeling of a small village in the throes of disaster and panic. I wanted bloodshed and undeniable romance and to bite my fingernails off by the time the movie was over! Instead, I just left the theater mildly confused, under whelmed, and sadfacing.

And don’t even get me started on that werewolf. I’ve seen better graphics in tv-only release sci-fi movies. I felt like they were trying to copy the Twilight wolves, but failed miserably. The fur looked like plastic shards and the anatomy went all wonky on several scenes. It did have nice eyes though…

I will give it this, though. I never saw the ending coming. Looking back at one specific scene, there was a pretty big clue dropped, but I didn’t notice it at all, which I liked. I also liked all the homage to the original fairytale - specifically the nightmare with the grandmother. That was probably the creepiest scene in the entire movie. But I was kind of going ‘wtf?!’ for the last fifteen minutes of the movie.

Oh, and the soundtrack? Amazing! I may not be buying the movie when it comes out, and I may have regretted paying to see it on the big screen, but I came home and immediately bought the soundtrack.

The Final Word: Only go if you really, really, really like to see things on a big theater screen. Or if you have a free ticket. Or something. Maybe just wait until it comes on HBO for free? Or Redbox it and only pay a dollar. Either way, pay the least amount possible to see this. While not the worst movie ever, and containing a few redeemable factors, it’s pretty much flat and emotionless. With such an amazing premise, I think Catherine Hardwicke really dropped the ball on this one.


Tea: Grab a bottle of Firefly and the shot glasses, because we’re gonna need to make a drinking game out of this!


  1. Damn. Sounds about as good as the book then! I couldn't relate to any of the characters in the book, they definitely lacked depth for me but I was hoping they would be a bit better developed in the movie. Apparently not. On a positive though, it does look like a gorgeous film even though it's missing other vital elements:)

  2. No one really seems to like this movie. It looks gorgeous but you still need a good plot. Oh well

  3. @Jenny: I read your review for the book. Ironically, I was hoping the book was better than the movie, lol! Guess we're both disappointed. :(

    @Karen: It was definitely beautiful. It would probably be one of those good background movies you watch when you're doing something else. =/

  4. Yeah... the movie was kinda bad. I didn't like the feel of it at all... the acting wasn't that great. And I'm kind of sick of all the generic-looking pretty boys in movies. YAWN. Glad to see that the general opinion is with me on this movie.