Red Riding Hood: Set in a medieval village that is haunted by a werewolf, a young girl falls for an orphaned woodcutter, much to her family’s displeasure. What happens next? Read the fill review.
Business rating: 1 star
Star cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke.
What’s Good: The suspense behind who the werewolf really is; the production design.
What’s Bad: The mish-mash of a story; the average performances; and the illogical climax.
Verdict: Red Riding Hood tries too hard to imitate the Twilight formula, but fails miserably.
Loo break: Many in the last few reels after the truth about who the werewolf is, hits you.
Watch or Not?: Recommended only for people with ample free time and spare money on their hands.
Appian Way, Random Films and Warner Bros. Pictures’ Red Riding Hood is the story of a young girl who is being wooed by two young males at one time. Plus, there is also a werewolf in her village, and it wants her to leave the village with it.
Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman who has long fallen for her childhood sweetheart, woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). But Valerie’s parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons), who is an ironsmith by occupation. The three live in a desolate, snowy village by a huge forest. The village has, since time immemorial, been facing the wrath of a werewolf who must be fed one healthy livestock every full moon night, or it will kill humans. Just as Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together, they hear the news that Valerie’s elder sister has been killed by the werewolf. It is for the first time in 10 years that the werewolf has killed a human.
Immediately, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a priest, who is an expert in killing werewolves and witches, is summoned to the village. After Father Solomon arrives with his own private army of hardened warriors, he warns the innocent villagers that the werewolf is one among them. He also says that anyone who is bitten by the werewolf must be killed or s/he would also turn into a werewolf. As the death toll rises every night, Valerie starts suspecting everyone – Peter, Henry and even her old grandmother. But things take a turn for the worse when the werewolf approaches Valerie, asking her to leave the village with it. On learning of this incident, Father Solomon brands Valerie as a witch and decides to use her as bait for the werewolf. Henry, Peter and Valerie’s father (Billy Burke) hatch a plan for her safe escape. What happens then? Who is the werewolf? Who does Valerie finally fall for? The rest of the film answers these questions.
Story & Screenplay – Red Riding Hood Review
David Leslie Johnson’s story is routine and feebly tries to repeat the Twilight formula by replacing the vampires with werewolves. However, Johnson’s screenplay does not add any value to the story but rather adds to the confusion. By the end of the film, the audience is left wondering if the film is a romantic-thriller or a film about werewolves. It is probably neither. The absence of any chemistry whatsoever between the leading pair (Valerie and Peter) is also a disappointment, in spite of a few intimate scenes. The climax of the film is surprising, as a person whom the viewer will not guess to be the werewolf, turns out to be one. The audience is not able to guess the identity of the werewolf because there aren’t enough clues. Also, the logic provided, when the identity is revealed, is so stupid that the audience is put off. The film, it seems, keeps moving towards a pre-determined conclusion in such a way that twists and turns are fitted in to reach the climax. A 10-minute long tribal dance sequence, which is hurled on the audience at the beginning of the film, stands out like a sore thumb. Moreover, the whole premise of the film irritates. Only young girls might find the story appealing.
Star Performances – Red Riding Hood Review
Amanda Seyfried is wide-eyed and fails to deliver a powerful performance. Gary Oldman has a few smart lines to mouth, but that’s it. Billy Burke is as usual. Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons get hardly any scope. Virginia Madsen (as Valerie’s mother), Lukas Haas (as Father Auguste) and Julie Christie (as Valerie’s grandmother) are okay.
Direction – Red Riding Hood Review
Director Catherine Hardwicke fails to repeat the magic and the hype of the first Twilight film, which was directed by her. Her execution of the scenes is good – and there is extensive detailing as far as the production design is concerned – but the film clearly falls short in the story department. And this is, in no small measure, the director’s fault too. Alex Heffes and Brian Reitzell’s background score is forgettable. Mandy Walker’s cinematography is fine, although the frames could have been lit up a bit more. Nancy Richardson and Julia Wong’s editing is sloppy.
The Last Word
All in all, Red Riding Hood has little value to offer to the audience. It will find no favour at the Indian box-office and will see red.