Review: Red Riding Hood


I’d like you to first read my review of Battle: Los Angeles so you can see that I do indeed like stupid movies with almost no point. Once you know that you can fully and totally understand how truly terrible in every way imaginable Red Riding Hood is. This is the kind of film that goes down in legend and is screened late at night on college campuses with people making fun of it throughout.

Red Riding Hood is truly film at its worst. Except Gary Oldman. He’s awesome.

You probably already have some preconceived notions about Red Riding Hood thanks to the fact that its a angsty, tween film directed by the same woman who directed the original Twilight movie. I would assume that for most of you those preconceived notions involved a bad film with far too many serious looks from love struck teenagers. Whatever your bad thoughts on the film were, multiple them by a million and then divide by the smallest fraction possible. It’s worse than that number.

The movie (and I use that term loosely) is a retelling of the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. However, instead of a girl traveling to grandma’s house we get Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), a teenage bombshell in a small village somewhere in the woods. She is loved by two men of the village, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) and Henry (Max Irons). The village is also plagued by a werewolf, who could be anybody, but is most likely someone Valerie knows because otherwise it would be even stupider. Because of this the local priest calls in Solomon (Gary Oldman), whom is a religious killer of such creatures and also a douche. The entire driving force behind the film is figuring out who the werewolf is, but since the movie is about as subtle as a baseball bat to the skull you readily figure the answer to that out because they think the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” isn’t the most obvious way of hiding something.

I cannot stress enough how terrible this films screenplay is and how poorly everyone, but Oldman delivers every line. It’s as if everyone else in the film thought they should really take this dreck seriously while Oldman camps it up wonderfully. Sadly, that means that Oldman magnificent camp performance is drowned out by all the other crap that takes place in the film, and it is far from worth putting up with the boredom and blandness just to laugh at it. This blandness especially applies to Seyfried, who seems to believe that because her riding hood is so red she doesn’t have to put any more color into her performance. She ranges emotions from non-moving porcelain face to prettier non-moving porcelain face.

Even worse is the fact that director Catherine Hardwicke’s direction isn’t any better than that of a teeny boppers the film is directed at. Every shot is the most cliche piece of work ever. Romantic love scenes abound with direction so cliche they become sterile and the performances she draws out of the actors seem so removed from one another that you seriously start to wonder if they didn’t just film it all separately and then add it together digitally. This is a theory easily backed up because the entire film was so obviously shot on a set indoors. Even when the scenes are of people running through a snowy wooded area the movie is shot indoors despite the fact that the entire thing was shot in Vancouver where I would assume snowy wooded areas are pretty abundant.

I think what is really abhorrent about the film, however, is Peter and Henry’s hair, which is gelled and moused into stylish, modern looks. Why is this truly offensive? Because it symbolizes the entire philosophy behind the film that we’re not telling a story but simply constructing a product to appeal to the Twilight crowd. The entire film is so geared around this idea that you can see it in everything decision that was made. Every kiss is some idealized teenage dream of what a kiss should be and every shot is done so melodramatically that only a teenager could possibly think of it. It’s all so much like a bad teenage fantasy that even the teenagers in the theater thought it was too much. You know you have problems when the people who you’ve designed a film for are catcalling at the screen as much as the people who got dragged to it.

Red Riding Hood is a joke of a movie, with no soul, no heart and not a care for the fact that its audience paid to see it. It’s so focused on creating another Twilight it forgot that Twilight wasn’t that great in the first place and really only succeeded off of its name and decent enough performances from its stars. Red Riding Hood has neither a hit book or good enough performances to succeed off either of these things.

3.80 – Horrendous. (3s are terrible in every way possible, and are completely awful. Not even a single scene was mediocre, and the entire cast should be ashamed. It doesn’t matter what your film tastes are, this movie should have never been made. It might be the worst film you’ll ever see in your life.)

Sean Walsh

6.10 – If Twilight was a period piece, and the edgy-but-not-too-edgy indie rock was replaced with Icelandic-sounding mood rock, and instead of being a vampire, Edward was just an angtsy rich kid, you’d have Red Riding Hood. Full of obvious red herrings, a few creepy dream sequences, and jusssssssst enough fairy tale familiarity, it trudges through the woods of olde Forks, Seattle to its half-way decent climax. Amanda Seyfried has been one of my favorite pieces of eye-candy ever since her talking corpse popped up from time to time in Veronica Mars, and Gary Oldman is always a campy pleasure. The two generic male hotties perform their roles to a T, but the awesome guy with a whip stole the show for Best Supporting Actor in a Mediocre Fairy Tale Adaptation for his awesome badassery and general sweet whip skills. Red Riding Hood is kind of blah, but there are worse things out this weekend.

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.