Notable Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Virginia Madsen, Max Irons, Shiloh Fernandez
Review: Great, another director that will never be able to shake the stereotype of her first movie. Everything that made Twilight so painstakingly atrocious can be found in her new film. From the very first minutes of Red Riding Hood, the relationship of forbidden love is introduced along with a confusing love triangle. This is a gothic retelling of the children’s story we all know, that promised violence and chills, but the trailers were nothing but a facade for Hardwicke’s horrible attempt at another romance. Apparently, to be a character in any one of Hardwicke’s films, there has to be something depressing about you love life. Be it losing a lover, being forced into a loveless relationship, or having to choose between lovers: Hardwicke is all about dramatic relationships. Too bad she has no idea how to successfully implement said drama without coming off tacky and laughable. I’m really surprised somebody didn’t just start sparkling for the hell of it, I mean there was a werewolf again, why not? From the first scene, there were all too many similarities that could be drawn to the Plan 9 From Outer Space of teen vampire love stories. So I sat down and buckled in for another horrible romance that only wide-eyed tweens would believe. At least this one had Gary Oldman, that had to help, right?
Valerie (Seyfried) is a love stricken girl in a small medieval village. Her true love Peter (Fernandez) is nothing but a common woodsman, while her future husband Henry (Irons) is part of one of the wealthier families in the village. Valerie’s feelings are obviously with her long time love Peter, but she is being forced into her marriage with Henry for the betterment of her family. But love isn’t the only problem in Valerie’s life. There is also a renegade werewolf tormenting her small village, making every night even more and more dangerous. After a slew of killings, including Valerie’s sister, the great werewolf killer Father Solomon (Oldman) is brought in to put a stop to the hairy menace. The question is, which will come first. Valerie finally solving her beefcake dilemma, or being mauled by a voracious mythical beast. Can you guess where the movie spends most of its time?!
Man, Hardwicke really missed the point with her Red Riding Hood update. I really appreciate how the previews tried to amp up how this version was going to be so much more brutal and horrifying than the regular kids story. Spooky settings, scary images, Nine Inch Nails?! Uh oh, look out Amanda Seyfried. Of course, the poster then contradicted the trailers by billing this from “The director of Twilight.” Good lord, if I ever have to watch Catherine Hardwicke butcher teenage love again, I think I might give up on movies. I hoped it wasn’t possible, but she was able to translate everything that was shit from Twilight into a different era in time. There’s a ferocious wolf on the loose, and Valerie is too busy crying because two guys are in love with her? Hmm…who do I pick. The dreamy commoner? Or the dreamy rich boy. WHY IS LIFE SO DIFFICULT! Which was the whole freakin’ movie by the way. Lord know’s I only stuck out the whole movie because I got to write this review at the end. And the wolf. Please. Again, every trailer was hiding the wolf like it was some hideous monster and not seeing it in the trailer would be some kind of payoff. Well, it was exactly what you’d expect. A wolf. Just a big wolf. That was strong. And ran really fast. Nothing special. Nothing eccentric. Not that it was a bad thing, but don’t try to convince us there’s something special about your villain. Whoever advertised Red Riding Hood should really win an award, because they were able to mask a pile of garbage in a box with a pretty bow on it, keeping you from seeing the steaming turd inside.
Not even Gary Oldman could save this movie. Chalk this up to another one of his insane roles along the lines of Leon: The Professional and True Romance, but when you’re working with a garbage script there isn’t much you can do. I can’t fathom what drew him to this role, but I can only hope he didn’t pass anything up for this. And usually I don’t dislike Amanda Seyfried, she has a very girl next door effect on me. So leave it to Catherine Hardwicke to make me completely hate her. The horribly written dialogue mixed with her dead, expressionless face did NOTHING to help the tone of the film. Remember how annoying Kristen Stewart was with her pouty, dead pan face and horrible line delivery? Well, Amanda Seyfried follows right in the depressingly emo footsteps, like Hardwicke tried to create another Bella out of Red Riding Hood. And what’s up with Hardwicke’s obsession with effeminate men? Henry is basically Pattinson, and Peter is easily Jacob. Both of them whine like drama loving woman, and really make me believe Hardwicke has never had an encounter with a real man in her life. No person takes Hollywood typecasting to the unbelievably asinine max as Catherine Hardwicke.
But to be honest, maybe I shouldn’t be comparing Twilight to Red Riding Hood just because of the director. In all fairness, Red Riding Hood reaches Twilight’s level of suckage totally on its own merits. It’s just coincidence that most the problems were duplicated in Twilight, and the same niche (vomit-inducing tween supernatural romances: not the genre I’d pick as my safe zone) director happened to be behind the helm. Or Catherine Hardwick was sent from the bowels of hell to create a cult of sparkling, pretty boy worshiping screaming teeny boppers to fuel more Twilight inspired films. Horrendous characters, sickening writing, lack of development, and every other problem in the world turn this children’s tale into a bona-fide horror experience for any viewer. As in holy shit, what in god’s name am I watching this driveling mess of awful.
Final Rating: 3.5 trips to Grandma’s house out of 10