From the director of Twilight comes Red Riding Hood, another fantasy-based romantic thriller that unfortunately lacks magic, intrigue or anything of real value. So in that regard, it's exactly like Twilight. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Red Riding Hood is an instantly forgettable movie.
The movie plays off the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood, except the girl in question, Valerie, is actually an attractive young adult who is betrothed to one guy but in love with another. Set in a medieval village, she discovers that she can communicate with the mysterious werewolf that has killed several of her neighbors.
In fairness, the concept is clever. And casting Amanda Seyfried in the lead is a good idea. It's just that the rest of the production is incredibly bland.
Red Riding Hood suffers from a variety of problems, first and foremost the characters. If Red Riding Hood is meant to be a sweeping romance, it isn't clear. The love interests in the film are interchangeable, their relationships with Valerie one-dimensional. Most characters seem to exist to serve the plot and nothing more; Virginia Madsen is completely wasted and Billy Burke brings nothing to the picture.
Even a scene-chomping Gary Oldman seems frustrated by the film's limitations.
The story is never fully realized and lacks theme or purpose. The movie is at once a romance, a "horror" film (sort of) and a mystery, yet the final product is lesser than its parts. Red Riding Hood isn't romantic, scary, exciting or mysterious. The climax, which attempts to bring all these pieces to a head, is terrible as a result.
Red Riding Hood feels as small as it looks. Few films look as glaringly cheap as this one. While some of the visuals lend themselves well to the atmosphere, the perpetual fog and set design make it painfully obvious how little effort was put into the film. You can practically see the crew poking their heads out from behind the cardboard cutouts that serve as the village's buildings.
Somehow, Red Riding Hood cost $42 million to produce.
Red Riding Hood is a bad movie that has little going for it. The movie would have been a whole lot better had the wolf gotten the girl in the first act.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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