Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Rating: 7 Silver Claws
In the secluded town of Daggerwood, the werewolf that has terrorized the villagers begins a killing spree.
Everyone I know who’s seen this movie was disappointed for one reason or another. I, on the other hand, am not so much disappointed as unsurprised. The movie-makers had a real chance to do a very interesting twist on a very old legend, and yet there was not one single thing that makes it unique. An American Werewolf in Paris at least had fun with what they made. Red Riding Hood focuses very much on fraught passions and misunderstandings and long-buried secrets. Which would be fine, except once again, not a single surprise stands out – I guessed who the werewolf was halfway into the movie, and I’m betting a great many of you did too.
So, we have Amanda Seyfried as Valerie, the Red Riding Hood of the story. Yes she does get a red hood, eventually, from Grandma, the unforgettable Julie Christie, whom some of you might recognize as Madame Rosemerta. And yes, Grandma lives out in the woods (so does everyone else, but nevermind that) where she is apparently well aware of the existence of the werewolf and practices some kind of wise herb-woman witchery. Valerie, who loves only Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) from her childhood, is betrothed by her ambitious family to Henry Lazar. Henry is played by Max Irons, son of the legendary Jeremy Irons, but his character leaves a fair amount to be desired. Henry’s father, Adrien, is played by Michael Shanks, of Stargate and a whole bunch of other stuff fame. And let us not forget the Reeve of Daggerwood, Michael Hogan of Battlestar Galactica! So, the village has had an uneasy truce with the werewolf for two generations, but all that is shattered when Valerie’s sister is found dead during the beginnings of the Blood Moon. More on hunting the wolf down, deaths and rampages ensue, and Father Solomon, played by the always drool-worthy Gary Oldman, rides in. I have a few issues with some of the things the Father and his men, supposedly here from the Holy See, do though. Like, why is the Father’s entourage comprised of almost entirely Magyars and Moors? And I really can’t see these holy men using that huge compass planetary metal doohickey, when he explained the Blood Moon – that’s Science, and is very against Templar ways. We go on.
Things ensue, secrets are brought to light, and the movie painstakingly goes through each and every one of them, providing an explanation whether you want it or not. The end of the movie actually seems to peter off, no pun intended. Like they couldn’t figure out quite how to end it in a truly legendary if not passionate fashion, so we’ll just opt for the Epilogue of the still-alive characters. Which, I’m sorry to say, is not how you actually end a dark fairy tale like Red Riding Hood tried so very hard to be. I’ll give it 7 Silver Claws, for being epic enough if not hardly memorable.