Red Riding Hood (2011)

Posted: March 21, 2011 in Movies

There’s no doubt Warner Bros. decided to green light Red Riding Hood in an attempt to try and cash in on the rabid Twilight fanbase. They did everything they could to give this film the appearance of another Twilight film.

They brought on Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke to direct the picture. It features two young men vying for the affection of a young, virginal girl. One of these boys may or may not be a werewolf. One is prone to walking around with his shirt off. They say things like “I could eat you up,” and one has hair that seems out of his control.

If these traits don’t say Twilight to you then give the trailer a watch and you should be convinced. It oversells the violence in an attempt to appeal to male audiences while hinting at the dangerous romance at the film’s core to let the females know this isn’t just a werewolf tale. Truth is, Red Riding Hood does have a bit more action than any of the Twilight films, but Hardwicke can’t shoot action to save her life, the same as screenwriter David Johnson (Orphan, Wrath of the Titans) can’t write dialogue to save his. “I know what you did with the bunny,” is a quote that will go down in infamy as it not only shows Johnson’s lack of screenwriting ability, but Hardwicke’s lack of talent based on the image that accompanies said quote.

I’ve never read a romance novel, but I imagine this film is a perfect example of how one would play out. No, it doesn’t get as explicit as to present the “throbbing member” of a clean-shaven woodsman, but Peter (Shiloh Fernandez attempting to channel Joaquin Phoenix) is a hairless woodsman and a supposed bad boy to boot even though he never does anything “bad”. Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) has been attracted to Peter all her life, ever since, and perhaps because of, the soon-to-be infamous “bunny incident”. But her parents (Virginia Madsen and Twilight’s Billy Burke) have chosen the wealthier Henry (Max Irons) as the man she will marry. You know, because those well-to-do village living types present a much better future when your entire world is a small circle in the middle of the forest.

The Valerie-Peter-Henry love triangle remains at the core of the film as the threat of a werewolf enters the narrative. At first the woodland village of Daggerhorn takes on what appears to be a threat similar to the one seen in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. I even thought we may be looking at a similar situation, but no, the werewolf in this film is very much real and it has something to say — “I know what you did with the bunny” being one of its more enjoyable additions to the proceedings.

Like the hunting of a vampire, there are rules to killing a werewolf ranging from silver to holy ground. Valerie has her own methods as well, telling one of her suitors, “If you’re the wolf I’ll chop your head off.” Yeah, foreplay in Red Riding Hood gets rather intense.

To that point, this film is as sexually subtle as a punch to the face. As if the constant references to the “blood red moon” weren’t enough, you have Valerie donning her metaphorical red cloak as she traipses back from grandmother’s house. She follows this up with a bit of dirty dancing with her girlfriend during a party scene that would make the habitants of Zion jealous.

Just as I was trying to decide why Gary Oldman would stoop to such a level as to play the hammy werewolf hunter Father Solomon, there’s Julie Christie inexplicably deciding this would be her first major feature film since being nominated for an Oscar for Away from Her. Christie plays up the role of the grandmother to the hilt — paranoid and seeming possessed. The fact Red Riding Hood is also trying incredibly hard to be a murder mystery on top of everything else, is not lost any time grandma comes around as we’re fully intended to believe she grows a snout and howls when the moon glows full.

Red Riding Hood is a film that tries so hard to be something it’s not, because it isn’t much of anything at all. It’s hardly a romance because it isn’t romantic. It isn’t an action film because it’s trying so hard (and failing) to be a romance. Essentially, it’s trying to be Twilight because it doesn’t have an identity of its own.

Note: This is (obviously) a TS rip. The quality, though not horrible, is not DVD quality. If you want to see this film in it’s horrible glory, Red Riding Hood is in theaters now.

IMDB: Here | Download (AVI): Part One | Part Two

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