daniel cohen reviews the adaption/interpretation of the classic fairy tale …
Plot: In the medieval village of Dragomir, a werewolf has haunted the people for generations. After years of absence, the wolf has returned, killing one of the women. Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) arrives and leads the charge to slay the wolf as it takes a particular and mysterious interest in Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), a young woman who desperately wants to leave the village with her love Peter (Shiloh Fernandez).
I would have loved to of been in the board room when someone pitched, “Hey, let’s make a dark and teenage love story based on Little Red Riding Hood.” Seriously, how can someone take that statement seriously? Well it happened. It’s the adaptation you’ve been waiting for! Red Riding Hood is so excruciatingly boring that it felt like the movie threw a giant sleeping pill out of the screen that shattered in mid-air, sprinkling its remains on every audience member. Why was it so boring? Well, let’s start with the acting.
The lack of passion from these actors isreally astounding. They all deliver their lines like they had tee-times scheduled in 10 minutes at the nearby golf course. They don’t care. It doesn’t help that the dialogue is bad , although thank God for Gary Oldman, who does bring some pizazz to the project. He is somewhat interesting as his character is obsessed with killing this damn wolf. I also enjoyed Michael Hogan as a grizzly towns-person who leads the first charge to slaughter the wolf.
Amanda Seyfried is passable, but whenever she has a real acting moment, she fails pretty badly. Very early in the film, her sister is killed by the wolf, and when she walks back to the village and sees her lying on the ground, Seyfried tries to act emotionally distraught, and it was middle-school-play-level acting here. She also has the same look on her face throughout the entire movie, which is this open-mouth concerned-and-surprised look. It’s actually impressive to keep the same look for 90-plus minutes. She has one memorable scene where the wolf communes with her that is fairly interesting, but that’s mostly because of the wolf.
The actresses who play her three friends, though, really steal the show in terms of terrible performances. At least everyone remains consistent and speals like the times they were in, but the friends talk like modern-day high school students. Yikes. There’s also Max Irons, who plays Henry, Valerie’s arranged husband. Man, this guy is bad. He can’t deliver a single line without struggling. It’s painful to watch.
Other than talking about the acting, it’s a challenge to write about Red Riding Hood. Once I left the theater, my brain struggled to keep the information of this movie in my head because it was so forgettable. But for those of you die-hard Little Red Riding Hood enthusiasts, don’t you worry, because they bring you lines and scenes from the actual fable. Although watching the “What big eyes you have Grandma” moment was pretty cringe worthy.
That’s pretty much all I have to say on Red Riding Hood. Not that I was too invested in the end, because I was pretty much checked out halfway through this film, but they make a common movie mistake where they throw a random twist in at the end. It was like the director (Catherine Hardwicke) said, “Oh, you think this is going to happen, but nope! Take that, audience!” The problem with this is you have to offer some hints or clues to the twist, and it never does. It just looks lazily thrown in to catch you off guard. All in all, it’s a pretty bad movie. Oldman and a solid score save it from being completely terrible, but there’s no reason to see this.
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Really Bad)