My, what big dreams Hollywood has for transforming fairy tales into the next big Twilight thing in the business. And, in theory at least, Red Riding Hood offers real promise by exploring the roots of the legend for a fresh interpretation; it gets all medieval on us, as a village is stalked by a werewolf.
The virginal yet plainly horny Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) has loved orphaned woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) since they were kids, but she has been promised to Henry (Max Irons), son of the prominent clansman.
The romance unfolds against the backdrop of violence as the werewolf attacks and kills Valerie’s older sister and she begins to hear the voice of the wolf telling her that it will cease and desist if she runs off with it. Of course, that’s practically the same thing Peter told her, so she starts to wonder and then the whole village rises up as the werewolf attacks escalate and Valerie begins to notice what big eyes her Grandma (Julie Christie) has.
If Red Riding Hood were a comic book adaptation, it would be the origin story, but this dreadfully bland first take would have killed the franchise like a silver bullet. There is no romance or sensuality, just the chaste moon-eyed groping we’ve come to expect from the Stephenie Meyer-inspired lit-brand, and not one ounce of suspense in a single one of Catherine Hardwicke’s frames here. No heart or soul either beneath the scarlet cloak of teen soap opera histrionics. Grade: D-
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