Hunting The Beast: Red Riding Hood

Hunting The Beast: Red Riding Hood

Static Mass Rating: 1/5RED RIDING HOOD (CINEMA)
Warner Bros. Pictures

Release Date (UK): April 15th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 12A
Running time: 100 minutes

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Writer: David Johnson

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie

Official Movie Site

“Little Red Riding Hood” is one of the oldest of the popular folk tales and has been retold, interpreted, used and adapted countless times. I think I was four or five when my grandmother read the Grimm version to me. I was absolutely terrified, although the Brothers Grimm had pretty much tamed the original from the 14th century.

Red Riding HoodThis new version keeps the medieval setting and pretty much all of the original ingredients. Writer David Johnson (Orphan, 2009) and director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, 2008) have put together a romantic fantasy thriller with a big bad wolf out for a lot of blood, a grandmother, a hunter, and a girl who wants to follow her heart but ends up being both suspect and bait in a werewolf hunt. But there are some drastic deviations as well, taking it into the more familiar setting of teen drama.

Beginning with its Twilight-esque aerial views of the sprawling wilderness and set in the small village of Daggerhorn, we meet two young lovers, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) and woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). Valerie is promised to another boy, Henry (Max Irons), the son a wealthy blacksmith and heartbroken by her parents’ decision, she plans to run away with Peter. They don’t get very far because they soon learn that a werewolf has taken the life of Valerie’s older sister, Lucy.

Red Riding HoodThis sparks a hunt for the wolf and very soon the village of Daggerhorn is gripped by fear and paranoia; the wolf is not only out there, but it could be one of them. The arrival of werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) does little to bring them calm, especially when he arrests a disabled boy on suspicion of practising the black arts. It becomes clear that the only one who can face the wolf is none other than the girl with the red cape.

While Red Riding Hood is visually absorbing with its sweeping fairy tale-like landscapes, the film suffers greatly from an unimaginative script which lacks insight when it comes to the characters. Dialogue like “I don’t feel like it’s my wedding…I feel like I’m being sold” feels dreary and for the most part, the actors are left with nothing interesting to say. The scenes give you information, but never anything to react to.

Red Riding Hood

Another aspect I found jarring was the music. With songs by Fever Ray, at times Red Riding Hood felt more like a music video, or perfume advert. Beats and synthesisers detracted from the fairy tale-like experience and medieval style setting they’ve painstakingly created with the visuals.

Rather than really dare to break new ground with an age-old story, Red Riding Hood does nothing more than recycle the Twilight formula with lesser results, doing no justice to the famous words, “What big eyes you have”.

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