Red Riding Hood
This review first appeared in the Sunday Star Times, 3rd April 2011
Some films are so bad they’re good. This is not one of them.
Catherine Hardwicke, director of the first Twilight film, clumsily tries her hand at another teen love triangle, as Red Riding Hood (here inexplicably called “Valerie”, played by Mamma Mia’s Amanda Seyfried) battles not only a murderous wolf but also the conflicting attentions of Peter and Henry (Max Irons, son of Jeremy, but not quite up to Edward Cullen’s standard).
The film is as subtle as being bashed around the head by an axe handle. Valerie delivers basketfuls of freshly baked clichés in a completely redundant voiceover. Musical cues are needed to alert us to moments of tension, and as the film reaches its inexorable climax, it goes all Agatha Christie by ensuring every character has a motive to cause Valerie’s suspicion.
Red Riding Hood may be a teenage romance but the youth of today are far too sophisticated for something this tame and unoriginal, while the mild horror elements render it inappropriate for a younger audience. A cast of familiar names and faces (including the dad in Twilight playing father again) creep out of the woodwork, while Gary Oldman runs around like he knows he’s the best actor in this and can’t even be bothered to do it properly. The “best” thing is the casting of the similar-looking Virginia Madsen and Seyfried as mother and daughter.