Red Riding Hood (2011)

I wasn’t keen on this movie at all when I first heard about it. The only thing by Catherine Hardwicke that I remotely liked was Thirteen, and the fact that she directed Twilight REALLY put me off. But nonetheless, I was told by many people to watch this movie, so I sucked it up and used my precious bandwidth for…

This is based vaguely on the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood, only instead of her walking through a scary forest to visit her grandmother, she lives in the middle of a scary forest with a whole bunch of other people. The village of Daggerhorn has been haunted by a werewolf forever. In the midst of all this, our young heroine, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) falls in love with her childhood best friend Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) and swears to stay with him forever, even when she’s engaged to the quiet and well-off Henry (Max Irons). The villagers give animal sacrifice to the wolf so that it leaves them alone, but one day it breaks the truce. Summoning the great Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) to help them rid the village of their plight, Daggerhorn discovers something it never wanted to know…

This is one of the few films for which I didn’t read the synopsis before watching. Like I said, I wasn’t keen on this movie when I first heard about it. I’m far more excited by the prospect of Tarsem making a Snow White legend, or watching the Red Riding Hood story as acted by (among others) Tom Hardy. But all that being said, the film was not bad all up. It is one of the few films which had you guessing until the end, it was cleverly woven to make far too many people suspects – for good reason – and the reveal at the end was quite interesting. At least, from my point of view. I’m apparently awful at guessing any sort of mystery/detective villains, but even those who are usually very good (of the people who recommended this to me, anyway) found it a well-structured storyline.

The first thing I have to say, is that it was very odd to hear my name said in a movie over and over. Firstly because I rarely hear my full name said, and secondly because to date, any character with my name was either a bitch, a slut, very fat, or a lesbian, and sometimes all rolled into one. And in this film she’s actually a kickass character. I liked her. I really liked her. I was proud to have my name attached to her.

I have to say is that the acting was good. Note, I didn’t say great, because it wasn’t, but it wasn’t cringe-worthy horrid either. I am rather a fan of Amanda Seyfried, I think she’s very talented, and she didn’t disappoint. She delivered some rather ridiculous lines in a way that made you want to believe them. I’m also a huge fan of Gary Oldman, and unfortunately his character in this was awful. Yea, he was meant to be the douche you dislike, but he was written so badly that even Oldman’s impeccable skill couldn’t save his character from snigger-worthy ridiculousness for me. I guess what annoyed me most was the accent he had to put on. It’s very rarely that a foreign accent works for a character, and Gary Oldman is certainly one to pull one off… but even this was beyond his skillset. Also he played a completely pretentious religious fanatic and that instantly sets me against a character. Fanatics, be they religious or otherwise, are damn disturbing people.

The set was well made and believable in a way that a fairytale is. Trees are spiky, there is ALWAYS snow or dusky sunlight, all the houses look like they’re about to fall down but are miraculously standing… it portrays what it’s meant to in a good well-made way. Costume wasn’t too shoddy either. Obviously the Red Riding Hood was the main event, and it was classy and rather beautiful, in my opinion. But I guess what I loved most in the costuming was the designs used for both Henry and Peter. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for beautiful boys in tight-fitting strappy-clothing. One thing I did notice, however, was no matter how much it snowed, all the characters were dressed in rather flimsy dresses. Guess you get used to it if you’ve done it all your life.

The music is probably the only thing that I can truly fall down and worship though. Holy Hera I haven’t heard a score like that in a long time. Brian Reitzell and Alex Heffes did an amazing job, in my opinion. The feeling was eerie and creepy and beautiful at the same time. If anything, this score is how I would judge the fairytale. The Grimm brothers never made a happy story, if they were a band today they would play this kind of music. And I LOVE it.

All in all, even with all the criticisms, this isn’t the worst movie of its genre BY FAR that I’ve seen. I give it a sold 6/10 and would probably have it in my collection to watch again, but it’s not a film I would want for my DVD collection. The poster, however, is a whole other story… I recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Amanda Seyfried. Not to fans of Gary Oldman. Watching this film will make you weep for his lost talent in it, believe me. It’s not a particularly frightening film; the effects are done rather well and the wolf looks VASTLY better than other versions of werewolves I’ve seen on screen, but the film is meant as a suspense mystery, not a gory horror. I do recommend it, but I wouldn’t spend money to see it.

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