Red Riding Hood

Directed By: Catherine Hardwicke

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, and Julie Christie

Now that Hollywood has made just about every comic book movie imaginable, studios are in need of a new gravy train.  They need a new genre to kill.  Studio execs have decided in mass to tackle fairy tales, and they've done nothing to hide it.  We've got two "Snow White" movies in the works this year alone.  There's talk of a live action remake of "Beauty and the Beast".  There's even a new television show called Once Upon a Time based on "the fairy tale world".  All in all, this is a bit much for viewers, and I know exactly who's responsible for this crappy new trend.  The blame for this lies squarely on the shoulders of the makers of the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland.  Because of the billions of dollars they raked in, we're now plagued with hollow adaptations of cherished fairy tales from our childhood.  The most recent film to invade children's literature and subsequently our movie theaters is Red Riding Hood.

The village of Daggerhorn is terrorized by a werewolf.  Every once in a while, the townspeople sacrifice their livestock to appease the wolf so that it won't prey on them.  Despite their efforts, the wolf kills a girl named Lucie.  Her sister Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is absolutely devastated.  On top of dealing with her sister's untimely death, Valerie learns that she has been betrothed to a boy named Henry (Max Irons), the son of wealthy blacksmith Adrien Lazar (Michael Shanks).  Even though she's in love with another boy in the town named Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), Valerie's mother Suzette (Virginia Madsen) commits her to the marriage for the family's sake.  Meanwhile, the wolf has set his sights on his next target — Valerie.  The townspeople call in the big guns to deal with this major threat to their safety — Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a man in the business of slaying werewolves.

Red Riding Hood is a testament to how crappy a movie really can be.  I truly hated this film.  If Stephanie Meyer were to write a fairy tale, this is how it would turn out on the big screen.  Director Catherine Hardwicke has raided my treasured childhood fantasies and made them adulthood nightmares.  Having to sit through Hardwicke bringing this stale screenplay to life was utterly painful.  She tries to modernize this fairy tale and make it accessible to youth today.  For instance, the score for Red Riding Hood, which takes place in some village centuries ago, consists of a considerable amount of rock music.  What the hell is that?  I can't speak for everyone, but I certainly would prefer something a little more dramatic while watching the wolf terrorize Daggerhorn.  Hardwicke should have taken a more traditional approach and made this an old school thriller.  Instead of a terrifying blast from the past, we get an awful hybrid of Twilight and The Village. 

Beyond Hardwicke's terrible retooling of a classic fairy tale, there's plenty of bad acting in Red Riding Hood.  Given that this is a major feature film that received a wide release, I shouldn't feel like I'm watching a crappy soap opera during which the actors debase an already atrocious script every moment they're on screen.  While Amanda Seyfried does what she can with the crappy hand she's dealt, most of her supporting cast just sucks.  I would like to give a special shout-out to Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, and Billy Burke for their nightmarishly bad performances.  They should have all been contenders for the Razzies in 2011.  Even a decent performance by Gary Oldman, the master of all foreign accents, is drowned out by all the bad acting in this movie.

On top of the horrendous filmmaking by Hardwicke and the unforgivably bad acting by the cast, the big bad wolf is anything but menacing.  The wolf is supposed to be absolutely frightening.  I should have been grabbing some liquid courage when it arrived on screen.  Instead, I was laughing at how cartoonish it looks in the film.  The wolf should at least be imposing enough to make us believe the characters in the film should have a reason to fear for their lives.  Unfortunately, it doesn't meet that standard either.  The CGI used to create the wolf is dreadful.  The wolf is just a notch above some character on the Cartoon Network.  These ill-conceived graphics are not the stuff from which bone-chilling terrors are born.  The filmmakers might as well give the wolf some big blue eyes and throw the movie on Nickelodeon or ABC Family. 

There's absolutely nothing fantastic about the fairy tale fantasy Red Riding Hood.  Without question, this flick fails the Sobriety Test.  It's so bad that I might have to go back and rewrite the STMR 2011 Wasted Movies List.  I can find a slot for it somewhere.  Instead of worrying about that list though, I should have been grabbing some shots.  Some Redheaded Sluts would have drowned out my sorrows.  Red Riding Hood has definitely earned itself a wasted rating.