Now Showing on Cable: “Red Riding Hood”

HBO’s premiere movie this weekend was this Spring’s “Red Riding Hood”, starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen and Shiloh Fernandez.

“Red Riding Hood” is a full length movie, based on the classic fairy tale. The fairy tale, as everyone knows, isn’t all that long… it’s pretty much three scenes tops, right? Red Riding Hood walking to Grandma’s and meeting the Wolf, the Wolf racing ahead to Grandma’s before her, and then the climactic “What big eyes you have” and the rescue by the Huntsman.

As such, they had to expand the mythology a little in order to flesh out a feature-length film.

I’m certain a thousand reviewers have made a wide variety of plays off of the classic quote, but I can’t help myself… I have to say, “My, what a silly movie you have!”

“Red Riding Hood” revolves around the village of “Daggerhorn”. Throughout the film, you can pretty much tell that “Daggerhorn” is a set. The obviousness of it winds up diminishing the feel of the film… it winds up feeling as if you’re watching a stage play. Except minus the live entertainment aspect, the good script, and any quality acting.

“Daggerhorn” has been tormented for decades by a lineage of enormous, bear-sized wolves. Midway through the film, with the arrival of Gary Oldman’s Spanish inquisitor style priest character, the villagers are finally informed that what they’re dealing with is a werewolf. Thus the Wolf could be any one of them. Their neighbor or spouse or friend.

There’s a mild level of possibility in that high concept, with the villagers suspecting one another of being a lycanthrope, but my “go to analogy” of comparing things like this to Scooby Doo mysteries is a bit unfair. In this case, unfair to Scooby Doo. Oldman arrives on scene and begins the inquisition, torturing people and threatening sacrifices, etc etc. Meanwhile, the movies parades potential suspects in front of you as if figuring out “Who the wolf is” is anything that you care about.

There’s also a tween movie level love triangle thrown in, with Seyfried in love with one boy, but promised in marriage to another, but there’s not enough there to really “sink your teeth into” there, either. LOL

This movie felt like exactly what it is. A stretchjob. They took a source material that was probably a 30 minute film if faithfully retold, stretched it into a 1 hr 40 min runtime, made it on the cheap, and put it out, hoping for the tweens to latch onto it.

They didn’t.

All in all, perhaps there was a decent excuse to make a film here, but they needed a much better level of execution to bring it out. The sets are cheesy, the CGI is poor, and the script is weak.


Not a lot of entertainment value to be had, but at least I was never insulted by it…

18 thoughts on “Now Showing on Cable: “Red Riding Hood”

  1. Great review. Ya know, i’m actually surprised you rated it as high as you did! Lol. I just hope Snow White doesn’t fall into the same category.

      • Yep, as much as I do like Tarsem Singh’s stylings in films, I did not really “get” his take on Snow White with the comedy and Julia bloody Roberts!

        I like everything about the Charlize Theron one but Kristen fricking Stewart.

  2. This seems like an example of ‘movie-by-committee’ at it’s worst. It felt like they started making a werewolf movie, but then the studio insisted they wanted Twilight instead, so halfway through they turned a adult monster/horror movie into a teen romance/adventure. I actually went into tis movie with no preconceptions at all. I had heard nothing about it, and thought it looked pretty cool from the trailer. To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. I liked Amanda Seyfried from Veronica Mars and Big Love, so I was inclined towards her role, but ‘insipid’ and ‘shallow’ don’t even begin to cover her character.

    I guess I should have read a review BEFORE watch this sludge.

    My grade: GAH.

    • “LOL” doesn’t do justice to the laugh I let out when I read, “My Grade: GAH”

      I need to add that to my grading system. I’m a fan of Ms. Seyfried, too. Always hoping to see more of her… 😀 (BTW, I checked out Veronica Mars based on your recommendation from wayyyy back when it was on, and you were correct, it ROCKED)

      I mean, you’re right, its vacuous… but I’m watching so many bad movies right now to try to make sure my 2011 Worst Movies list is well informed that I coudlnt give this lower than a C-. I wound up being pretty neutral on it.

    • Yeah you guys are totally right, this movie was really bad. I was surprised that they didn’t try and have the werewolf guy take off his shirt as an attempt to make the movie better, well wait… I actually fell asleep while watching the movie, maybe he did.

  3. Strangely I wanted to see this when it hit cinemas, but for whatever reason, never got around to it. I do remember seeing the trailer and the moment it says “from the director of Twilight” I might have thrown a few things. That’s not a selling point for me!

    Well, your review seems pretty fair. I tend to gravitate towards anything with Gary Oldman in…

  4. I’ve watched this whole movie, basically, but broken up in bits and pieces as we usually tune in at various moments in its running time.

    And it sucks. I can’t really write about it good conscience since I haven’t seen it from start to finish unmolested, but man, it’s just bad. The dialogue is excruciating, the acting blank and wooden, the conceit absurd, the effects low-rent. Just awful. If I manage to sit through it the whole way through I think it could top Red State as my “holy shit awful” pick of 2011.

    • Mmmmmm…. (and I started in to Red State btw, I may bail on it from contention for not having a theatrical release though, that way I dont have to watch it… not sure yet)

      Yeah, the more I comment and read comments, I’m not sure why I didn’t give it a D. Honestly, I may just start going back one of these days and regrading shit based on “Having time to sink in”.

      It was pretty bad.

      • Talking about movies helps a lot, I find, when trying to pin down how I feel about them. Sometimes just giving yourself time to brew helps too. Red Riding Hood is one case where I needed neither distance nor conversation because holey moley it’s a goddamn catastrophe. It gave me gas. No joke. Right now my stomach is rumbling just thinking about it.

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