Movie Review: Red Riding Hood (2011)

| 23 March , 2011 | Reply

Keeva Stratton, Quip Creative

Red Riding Hood (2011)
Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen

Deep in the forest exists a small village tormented by a werewolf, where the beautiful young Valerie has fallen for an orphaned woodcutter—much to the dismay of her family, who have promised her to another. When Valerie\’s sister is found murdered, it is obvious the wolf has returned, and the town resorts to desperate measures, including hiring a malicious priest (Oldman) to hunt down and kill this relentless beast.

When confronted by the werewolf, Valerie realises that she herself might be connected to the beast that murdered her sister, and soon finds herself an outcast in the village. Torn between her lover, her betrothed, her friends and her family, Valerie must uncover the true identity of the killer before she loses them all.

This retelling of the infamous fairy tale is certainly not for children. The director, Catherine Hardwicke, was also responsible for helming Twilight—and this film clearly shares many similarities in terms of the story world as well as the visual aesthetic. Much to the delight of the Twilight generation, Red Riding Hood is in essence a struggle for young love, set amidst a fantasy setting and a life-and-death battle. In this brief (yet welcome) pause from vampires, we are engaged with werewolf folklore once more, in the telling of the tale of the torment of a character that discovers their imperfect destiny.

Seyfried is well cast as the luminous Valerie, whose affections are worth battling over, and whose connection to the beast remains mysterious, yet interesting, for most of the film. Oldman appears to do little else but be Gary Oldman in his depiction of the creepy and dark priest, which works out adequately. Unfortunately, he appeared to take a softer-than-usual approach to this film, and you really felt that hint of disappointment knowing he could have added a much sharper edge.

If you enjoyed the Twilight films, or even Grimm\’s Fairy Tales, this will offer you a satisfactory plunge into that style of fantasy film. Clearly targeted towards earlier Gen Y\’s, Red Riding Hood is another in what appears to be a line of richly textured, emo-esque fantasies that deliver in a populist and more widely-palatable manner than their gothic forbears.

Red Riding Hood is in cinemas from Thursday March 24.


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