Amanda Seyfried as Valerie



Starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman and Shiloh Fernandez

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke

Written by David Leslie Johnson

Warner Home Entertainment


Given that the theatrical version of Red Riding Hood was roundly trashed, the DLB opted to watch the “alternate cut” presented on the film’s Blu-ray release which promised a “provocative alternate ending.” Having not seen the film in theatres, we’re not sure what was provocative about it, but we suspect that is so much marketing ballyhoo.

Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke has essentially used the hallmarks of that franchise – a handsome young cast of dubious talents, PG-13 levels of sex and violence – and applied them to the fairytale. Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer’s Body) stars as Valerie, a young maiden of the village of Daggerwood in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) but promised to the more prosperous Henry (Max Irons). This triangle is interrupted by the death of Valerie’s sister at the paws and teeth of a werewolf; a beast which has plagued the town for decades but been appeased until now by sacrifices of livestock.

Gary Oldman as Father Solomon

Enter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a witchfinder called to the village to suss out the wolf. As one might expect, his declaration that the creature is in fact one of their own sews suspicion, betrayal and panic amongst the villagers. Accusations are made, innocents are tortured, and the wolf makes many a meal.

Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood has some strong elements, including some iconic costume design; a tense, experimental score by Alex Heffes and Brian Reitzell; and a strong performance by Oldman who is so far above the material. Indeed, his appearance and a desire to find out who the wolf is are the only reasons to watch Red Riding Hood to its end.

What went wrong? David Leslie Johnson’s dialogue is often ridiculous; Hardwicke’s young male leads are handsome but exude little personality; and the spectre of better movies (The Company of Wolves and Witchfinder General come to mind) throws the film’s awfulness into true relief. Oh, and the wolf only serves to reinforce the idea that there has yet to be a truly terrifying CG creature.

If you did enjoy the film – did you? Really? – Warner’s Blu-ray offers some treats, especially a featurette on the creation of the score and a rather interesting look at rehearsals for the film’s set pieces. The background featurette on the history of Red Riding Hood, though, is criminally short.

Consider this mangy beast all bark and no bite.




One Response to “BLU-RAY REVIEW: RED RIDING HOOD (2011)”

  1. […] BLU-RAY REVIEW: RED RIDING HOOD (2011) « Dark Lord Bunnykins's Blog RED RIDING HOOD Starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman and Shiloh Fernandez. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke. Written by David Leslie Johnson. Warner Home Entertainment. Given that the theatrical version of Red Riding […]

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