Movie Reviews 129 – Red Riding Hood (2011)

Red Riding HoodI thought that having Amanda Seyfried as the lead in a Red Riding Hood movie was a fantastic idea when I picked up the DVD, although the Twilightesque cover hinted at an overly hunk-horror romantic take that worried me a bit.

A medieval village has struck an unwritten truce with a local werewolf by setting aside monthly feasts of captive yard animals that kept the creature at bay for years. But one evening the truce is broken and young Valerie (Seyfried in the Little Red Riding Hood role) learns that her elder sister was suddenly killed by the wolf setting the entire village on edge. Why did the wolf break the long standing truce? The local clergyman (Lukas Haas) puts out a call for father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a legendary werewolf hunter and his crew of nubian warriors to take down the animal, but the locals are impatient and go hunt the animal themselves. Solomon arrives as the village is about to begin a feast believing they have killed the animal, with the slight cost of one of one villager’s life. Not heeding Solomon’s warning that they have only killed a regular wolf, (even suggesting that the real werewolf purposefully fooled the villagers for years into believe they knew where it lived), the festivities are cut short with the arrival of the true beast.

In order to fully explain the events one must understand the complex testosterone driven rivalry between Valerie’s love, the simple wood cutter Cesaire (Billy Burke), and Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) the blacksmith to whom she has been bethrown. We eventually get a complex family history and convoluted bloodline peppered with lycanthropy that also set in motion a soap opera of relationships, past and present.

While I enjoyed some of the mystery in figuring out who was really the ‘werewolf in the fold’ and even some of the logic behind the strategic kills, the movie also succumbed to some of my fears that it would be a bit much on the mushy side where romance prevails above all else.

It’s not as brainless as Twilight however and if you can endure big Red’s courtship shenanigans it ain’t all that bad.


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