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:: Red Riding Hood

The publicity company announces that a new darker version of Red Riding Hood is on its way. Sounds great, as it seems nobody has ever done the story justice before. Even better, Catherine Hardwicke is at the helm… despite her recent efforts, her early films Lords Of Dogtown and Thirteen proved that she knows how to make a gritty film… but unfortunately something went horribly wrong along the way and instead of getting a gritty, dark fairytale we get a Twilight wannabe.

Loosely based on the fairy tale Red Riding Hood tells the story of Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) a young girl who has been in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) for as long as she can remember, but now her family have decided that she should marry the very rich, Henry (Max Irons). Valerie and Peter decide to elope but their plans are put on hold when a werewolf that has menaced the village for years re-emerges and kills Valerie’s sister. The villagers summon the legendary Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) to rid them of the evil but that only results in him wanting to use Valerie as wolf-bait.

Catherine Hardwicke really deserves to be lynched for not realising that David Johnson’s script was nothing but a blatant Twilight wannabe. Instead of discouraging it, Hardwicke only enhances it by bringing even more of a Twilight feel to the film by re-creating the cinematography that she used in the original Twilight film and even using similar music… both with score and soundtrack (although the soundtrack sounds to be one that you may want on your shelf). To make matters even worse the casting of Billy Burke as Valerie’s father, Cesaire, only makes you think of Bella and Edward even more. And if the rumour that Taylor Lautner was considered to play Peter, than I rest my case. Hardwicke needs to be lynched.

Instead of doing everything in her power to make Red Riding Hood like Twilight Hardwicke should have been determined to iron-out the many problems that haunt this film… and there are many. Red Riding Hood is supposed to be dark and menacing… unfortunately this never comes across the screen. The wolf doesn’t do enough to scare anyone and the film is just simply too ‘nice’. When a wolf rips someone’s arm you expect a fair bit of blood… however not in this ‘nice’ universe where hardly any claret is spilt at all. This plus the fact that the characters are so one-dimensional means that at the end of the day Red Riding Hood does virtually nothing to inspire its audience.

Also dragging down Red Riding Hood is some truly dreadful acting performances. Amanda Seyfried shines, but unfortunately nobody else does. Gary Oldman’s accent is woeful (hand the man a Golden Razzie right now) while Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons are so wooden some of the fake-trees in the background seem to have more life about them. They certainly don’t have the skills to be leading romantic leads, and, as a result, most audience members will find themselves not really caring who Valerie ends up with.

At the end of the day Red Riding Hood simply doesn’t cut it. It may impress some teeny boppers who think this is a terrific ‘re-working’ of a fairy-tale they have grown up with. However, serious film-goers will see this film for what it really is… a blatant Twilight rip-off.