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Red Riding Hood: Twilight Meets Twisted Fairytale

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Screenplay: David Johnson
Release Date: March 11, population health 2011
Actors: Amanda Seyfried, store Gary Oldman, viagra 60mg Julie Christie, Virgina Madsen, Lukas Haas, Max Irons, Shiloh Fernandez, Michael Hogan, Adrian Holmes

“Grandma, what big eyes you have.”
“The better to see you with, my dear.”
“Grandma, what big ears you have.”
“The better to hear you with, my dear.”
“Grandma, what big teeth you have.”
“The better to eat you with, my dear.”

Most people who are familiar with the story of Little Red Riding Hood are most likely to remember the exchange above the most from their memory of this classic fairytale originally written by Charles Perrault. When it appeared in “Red Riding Hood”, the audience chuckled at its use. In fact, throughout the entire movie, “Red Riding Hood” had underlying comedy mixed in with the dark tone of the film. It also suffered a bit with the Twilight-like direction, especially in those scenes that involved romance.

The talented and young actress Amanda Seyfried portrays Valerie, who grows up in a medieval village that has been threatened by werewolves for centuries. She’s engaged to Henry (Max Irons), the son of a wealthy family, but her heart belongs to her childhood friend Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), whose trade as a woodcutter does not make much. After the death of her sister, Valerie, murdered by the werewolf, a group of villagers try and hunt down the werewolf, only to be treated to the arrival of Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) who promises to kill the beast for them. He informs them that the werewolf is really among them, which makes each person untrusting of the people around them. Admist the chaos, Valerie finds that her mom (Virgina Madsen) holds a few secrets of her own, while continuing to do the song and dance with Peter, discovering she herself has a few unanswered questions herself in regards to the true nature of the werewolf.

The film starts up very slow and slightly off-putting, with the camera circling the two actors, trying to represent their whirlwind flirtation and romance. With the fallen snow, the contrast in colors, it just reminded me of Twilight, which is not a good reminder. This may have been because the director is actually the same director who directed Twilight. But as someone who cannot stand Twilight the book or the movies, these scenes made me cringe. With the odd introduction of the two characters as kids and then their older selves, we were basically made to accept that these two should be together. Except these scenes didn’t. The way the scenes were set up, and the exchange of words between Peter and Valeri was as though the film was meant to be a teenage romance. The only problem is that Red Riding Hood isn’t a teenage romance. It was advertised as a scary thriller with a new twist on the story of Little Red Riding Hood with young lead actors.

Thankfully, after these awkward scenes, the movie picks up with the first death in the cast, Valeri’s sister. The use of colour in Red Riding Hood is absolutely gorgeous. Against the white snow and wooden shacks and homes, and the dowdy wear of most of the cast, Valeri’s bright red cape and Father Solomon’s purple suite stood out brightly with an aesthetic appeal to the eye. Gary Oldman is terrific in this, as one would expect. However, having said that, the biggest problem Red Riding Hood deals with is the extremely strange dialogue. It can’t seem to figure out what it wants to be. Is it a weird parody of the genre, hence the almost comedic deliverance of some of the lines by the actors? Or was the dialogue not intended to be funny and therefore is a huge failure of the film? It’s very difficult to make scary movies well, scary, and this time is no different. I enjoyed the premise and the “whodunnit” aspect the story has to offer, but the script left much to be desired. Without strong dialogue, despite a strong story and idea, this movie simply was just “okay”. Though I always enjoy a good detective story and enjoy the challenge of trying to figure out who the big bad wolf was, Red Riding Hood could have been so much more.

I’m not sure if I fault the director or the actors for the generally poor acting, especially that of Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons, who played Peter and Henry respectively. Seasoned actors such as Julie Christie, Virgina Madsen and Billy Burke (who played the grandma, the mother and the father) delivered below par lines and who all attributed to my confusion of whether or not the comedy was intended. These are talented actors who have had some excellent roles, so in this instance, I would fault the director for such a poor job in not producing better work. The camera work was also all over the place – some scenes were just breathtakingly beautiful, thanks to such beautifully created scenes in the film studios located in Vancouver, Canada. Other times, it was just horribly shaky and did not fit the film well, when the camera tried to represent the eyes of another person walking or peering around. In the end, due to the thin line it walks, Red Riding Hood is slightly below average. Its mystery aspect saves it from being a complete failure, and the colouring is quite pretty to look at, but when a film cannot decide what its tone is – a comedy, a romance, a thriller, or cannot successfully intertwine those elements together, they will quickly lose their audience.

Very uneven, not really recommended. 2 Howls / 5 Howls

If you like this film, you might like:
Company of Wolves
The Wolfman
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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