Red Riding Hood (2011)

red riding hood poster 2011 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 4/10

Promising subject

Bogged down movie that feels derivative and dull

Movie Info

Movie Name: Red Riding Hood

Studio:  Appian Way Productions

Genre(s):  Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  March 7, 2011 (Premiere)/March 11, 2011 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

red riding hood gary oldman amanda seyfried

It was well worth inviting you to town…

In a small village bordered by the forest, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) and the villagers live with a curse.  For decades, a werewolf has been hunting the land and forcing the villagers to give up sacrifices.  When Valerie’s sister is killed, the villagers realize the truce has been broken, and the wolf must die.  With a werewolf hunter named Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) called in by Father Auguste (Lukas Haas), the villagers learn anyone in the village could be the werewolf.  Valerie’s love Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), her fiancé Henry (Max Irons), her grandmother (Julie Christie), her father Cesaire (Billy Burke), her mother Suzette (Virginia Madsen) all are suspects…and the blood moon is shining!

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Red Riding Hood is a mystery suspense fantasy thriller.  The movie is adapted from the Charles Perrault fairytale “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge” which was later adapted by the Brothers Grimm.  The film was released to negative reviews and a poor showing at the box office.

red riding hood werewolf amanda seyfried

We’re being menaced by a CGI wolf?!?!

I like modern tellings of fairytales simply because fairytales often had multiple layers upon their basic story.  They were cautionary tales for children and often subversively tried to teach children about the dangers of the world and often sexual maturity.  While movies like The Company of Wolves really dove into this idea, Red Riding Hood seeks to find an identity while trying to make a popular young-adult movie.

The story has too many facets while not really getting to the meat of the story.  It touches on the ideas of coming of age and “girls” becoming women, but it primarily gets bogged down in a mystery with too many red herrings and too many characters.  The story slogs instead of flowing and then keeps going for too long once the mystery is virtually solved.

The cast isn’t too bad for how the script plays out, but it is also not very dynamic.  Amanda Seyfried’s wide eyed look give her a fairytale quality that is good for the character.  Gary Oldman’s character shows up too late to really be incorporated, and Julie Christie and Virginia Madsen are painfully wasted.  Shiloh Fernandez and Max Irons are too generic for the love interests, and while the movie received a lot of Twilight comparisons due to Hardwicke’s involvement among other things, the two reminded me more of The Hunger Games duo of Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth.

red riding hood amanda seyfried woods grandmothers house

It’s worse than I ever imagined! Not only could anyone I know be the werewolf, but my grandmother lives in a nasty Thomas Kincade cottage!

The movie tries to cover-up script inadequacies with its visuals.  The movie feels like a low-rent version of a Tim Burton film (who you can argue has turned into a low-rent version of himself).  It is very reminiscent of Burton’s Sleepy Hollow with washed out colors and a bright red cloak…but it also features a very unrealistic generated werewolf that could have been done much better.

Red Riding Hood is a disappointment in that the fairytale is rich and could have been easily modernized to a compelling story that still remained a mystery.  The cast is wasted and the visuals try too hard to impress.  The movie has all the trappings of a young adult movie, but even many of the young adult films have more charm (or at least better pacing).  Don’t go into the woods and stay on the path…you can avoid this film.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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