Red Riding Hood Review

Movie: Red Riding Hood
By: WalkingToForever
Date: May 2, 2011

My..what soft fur you have!

Somewhere between the Village and Ginger Snaps we find the world of ‘little’ Red Riding Hood. Little because the film hardly received any attention in the Netherlands. It snuck into theatres without much of a fuzz but trained hunters managed front row tickets to its first showing nonetheless.

With a perfectly estranged scene setting - an unknown village in an immense forest in an unknown time – Red Riding Hood pulls its audience right into the story by means of a voice over that explains the rules while the camera sweeps over acres of woods and a village that could have been build in Lord of the Rings or King Arthur. Unfortunately the female voice-over pops up throughout the story and intervenes with its potential scary plot.

At grandmother's house

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), a young village girl, falls in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), an outsider, who is considered too low in hierarchy. Valerie is not supposed to hang out with him because her ambitious parents have promised her to Henry (Max Irons), the son of a wealthy family. Peter asks Valerie to elope and leave the village with him. Their romance is disturbed when Valerie’s older sister is attacked by the werewolf that terrorizes the village from its surrounding woods. Devastated with her loss Valerie stays with her parents and seems to forget her plans with Peter. The werewolf seems to have broken a certain truce with the village with his cruel act and the villagers take action to find and kill it. The arrival of Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a werewolf killer, and his army of angry men and an iron elephant pulls Valerie into the mysteries that surround the werewolf.


As a story about werewolves the films lacks a number of things. The oversized wolf –though very realistic- is hardly scary and looks quite pet-able. The superstition and supernatural rules surrounding the werewolf are hardly clarified. It feels as though there has been a pick and mix of various myths and legends and none of them are really used to their full potential. The full moon and use of silver are touched briefly but that seems to be all there is to know and understand about werewolves. Red Riding Hood’s werewolf is supposed to feed on cattle after a truce. But he misbehaves and starts to kill villagers again. He kills numerous people throughout the story yet the appropriate blood and gore never show. Something which reminds of Twilight, the first vampire film without serious blood flow. It seems Catherine Hardwicke is trying to set a new trend.

The costumes and setting make for an amazing image and the soundtrack is credit-waiting-worthy but whether it is the lack of depth in characters or the shallow acting the story never really gets interesting.

All dressed up...

With the exception of one startling scene the tension build-up throughout the story fails because of the attempt to a romantic plot. As a horror story the film feels too soft and for a romantic story the film is too plain. The story was fun to watch and is probably accessible for a wide audience but has an unsatisfying end that leaves the real werewolf lover with an empty stomach and a reason to howl.



Red Riding Hood


Red Riding Hood


Catherine Hardwicke






Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons