Last night, I was able to catch the press screening of the Red Riding Hood courtesy of Pinoy Exchange.
Before watching this film, I already have a pre-conceived idea about the film’s premise given that I’ve already read and watched some retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood (and upon watching its less than impressive trailer.)
Red Riding Hood is the tale of a young lady named Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) who is in love with the woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) but was arranged to marry the wealthy Henry. (Played by Max Irons) Unwilling to marry Henry, Valerie and Peter plans to runaway just when her sister was found slaughtered by the wolf that has been lurking their village for years. With this, famed wolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) was asked to kill the beast.
As the death toll rises, Father Solomon warns the villagers that the beast maybe one of them and Valerie discovers that she had this special connection with the wolf suspecting that the creature could be someone she loves.
I was almost sure that everyone in the cinema felt the Twilight-ish starting scene of the film with the snow-covered forest, the pine trees and the fog. It’s just all too familiar. After all, it was Catherine Hardwicke who created this folklore’s adaptation. I was praying silently that it’d meet or even surpass my expectations but I think I got what I deserved.
The start was a very fast-paced one. From the moment that they found out that Valerie’s sister was slaughtered, the villagers plotted to kill the wolf themselves but were unsuccessful that it even causes more deaths. With Father Solomon’s arrival which is kind of giving me that “Van Helsing Just Arrived” vibes, it was apparent that he’ll be the one to actually create havocs in the village rather than the wolf itself. I just don’t get his character. Why is he bossing around people in the village when in fact it is obvious that it was not the majorities who called for him to summoned and kill the beast? It was funny that he had with him his army to protect him and be his slaves.
There were also some funny scenes involving Valerie’s grandmother and that almost comical cutaway from scene to scene. It was a trying hard approach to create suspense but it failed terribly that they ended up being funny. Some shots are not too polished and are a bit distracting as well. I however, love its soundtrack but thought that some of the songs were played in the wrong scenes.
Watching Amanda Seyfried as Valerie feels like watching her in Mamma Mia and Dear John. Those scared and effervescent eyes are really piercing that you’re sure that she’ll stab the next person in front of her anytime which actually happened in the film by the way. Max Irons who played Henry was the clone of Edward Cullen (yes, that glistening vampire from Twilight). At some point in the film, you’d feel that you’re watching Twilight (No pun intended). This is not to discourage you from watching though, I mean Billy Burke was also part of the cast who played Valerie’s father and was brilliant to say the least. Peter, who played Valerie’s love main interest, was almost non-existent. He’s too awkward yet he played a rather important role.
When the wolf arrived and cornered Valerie and talked to her, the guessing game furiously started as everybody she loves was a suspect. That guessing part was almost good and suspenseful; I just wish that there’s more action to the narrative rather than just a plain explanation because it kind of lacks the connection. The big reveal was almost anti-climactic but it was still good given that it was not too much of a giveaway.
In conclusion, I think the film was trying too hard to be darker than what it shows in its trailer and was not very successful. It was still a good two hours guessing who the werewolf is and lamenting how some scenes could’ve been executed better.
Overall, I’d give it a 6/10 ratings.
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie
Please visit Pinoy Exchange Official Moview Reviews where I regularly contribute and where this review was first posted.