Review: Red Riding Hood

Red Riding Hood (2011)

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke
Starring Amanda Seyfried, Lukas Haas and Gary Oldman

This movie – a loosely-based retelling of the fable of Red Riding Hood and set in a loosely-based version of a medieval village – came out in the spring of 2011 with much fanfare. Aimed at the teenage audience / fans of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight saga, the film received mostly poor reviews and saw small audiences.

The story revolves around the small village of Daggerhorn, which is located near the Black Forest. The villagers believe that a werewolf haunts them, and when one of the girls is murdered, the locals go out and hunt down the mysterious enemy. Although they have killed a wolf, a Father Soloman (played by Gary Oldman) arrives, and lets them know their problem has not been solved. Soon the werewolf is inside the village, causing mayhem and death.


Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, the main character of the film, who already has enough problems without the werewolf – she is in love with a hunky woodsman, but is being pushed to marry the son of the village’s rich blacksmith. It is Valerie’s sister who gets killed, and it seems that Valerie has some kind of special connection with the werewolf.

Seyfried and Oldman both give decent performances, but no one else in the cast is memorable or interesting. Oldman’s priest character follows the standard Hollywood-depiction of religious men – outwardly pious, but is ultimately shown to be corrupt and evil. Still, Oldman is one of those actors who can do almost any performance well, and he does so here again.


I went into this film with fairly low expectations, but I found myself enjoying parts of it – enough so that I did not feel it was a waste of 100 minutes. The plot is fairly thin and some things don’t make sense, but at least the mystery of the werewolf had an interesting outcome.

As for reviewing this movie in historical terms, no one should expect any level of accuracy. ‘Medieval-esque’ would be the best way of describing it – the village and the characters all look like they could be from the Middle Ages, but it is not like real effort was made to make them look from the period. This is a fantasy film that takes a few words from the tale of Red Riding Hood – hopefully not even the dumbest teenager will think that this is the Middle Ages come to life (and then be ripped to shreds by the big, bad wolf!).

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