Red Riding Hood proves to be a bloodless supernatural tween drama, which revolves around a laughable love triangle and some of the worse acting seen thus far this year.
What happened to Catherine Hardwicke? After starting off strong with Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown, the once promising filmmaker has succumbed to creating two of the worst supernatural thrillers in recent memory, the first mega blockbuster Twilight and now the excruciating Red Riding Hood.
The quality of filmmaking is unfortunately not the only comparison to be made with the toothless vampire saga. In style and story, it seems that Hardwicke and screenwriter David Leslie Johnson could not help but create a Twilight clone, no doubt in hope to substitute familiarity (and its box office potential) for creativity.
With its opening credits of camera swooping over tall trees and mountains, a shuddering question arises: could Hardwicke really be so obvious? Sadly as the film progresses the answer becomes a disappointing “yes” as we are introduced to Valerie (the picturesque Amanda Seyfried), a young woman from the small village of Daggerhorn who is torn between two men, childhood friend and love of her life Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), and prospective suitor Henry (Max Irons).
Of course the supernatural rears its ugly head in the shape of a werewolf, whose increased attacks on the village prompts the appearance of wolf hunter and inquisitor Father Solomon, played by Gary Oldman with hammy intensity, injecting some energy into an otherwise lethargic thriller.
As it becomes evident that the wolf is among them, a guessing game commences yet fails to intrigue in the slightest, with soap opera theatrics, dreadful dialogue, and comatose performances especially by Fernandez and Irons (a war of words between the pair has to be one of the most unintentionally funny scenes in some time).
Yet worst of all is the environment in which Hardwicke updates this fairytale. Although good with colour schemes as Seyfried’s vibrant red cloak clashes with the bright white snow (courtesy of Australian cinematographer Mandy Walker), the glossy sheen, synthetic looking sets, and confounding use of electro music in a supposed 18th century setting, works against the film in transporting its viewers to this updated version of the popular fairytale.
Put together, Red Riding Hood is a film with one hell of an identity crisis, and another step down in the career of a promising filmmaker.