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The moment I saw the trailer for this movie, I was all up for it. A novel retelling of a Grimm fairytale? And ohmigod, werewolves? (Hate vampires, btw.) HELL, YES! Also, the trailer looked really good with the depiction of a secluded village surrounded by ominous-looking trees and Gary Oldman on a horse, espousing couldn't-care-less-what-he-was-yapping-about-it's-frickin'-gary-oldman-for-crissakes. In short, I was sold. Embarrassingly so.

THE STORY


I think it's safe to say that all of us are familiar with the story of red riding hood. You know, the good girl who braves the threatening woods populated by fierce wild animals, one of which happens to be the big bad wolf, in order to visit her sickly grandmother, "what big ears you have" and all that, and then the cross-dressing wolf pounces in  and red riding hood, well, classic damsel in distress, until the woodcutter comes and saves the day. Yeah, I never really liked this particular fairytale, come to think of it.

Anyhoo, Red Riding Hood the movie puts a slight spin on the traditional fairytale. The girl who wears the titular piece of clothing is called Valerie (Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer's Body, Letters to Juliet), a good girl with a rather wild side. Childhood friend who works as a woodcutter by day Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) cultivates and encourages this wild side of hers by teaching her how to catch rabbits and sneaking around the woods with her. Not to state the obvious but the two are in love. However, Valerie's mother doesn't approve of the match and instead pushes Valerie into an arranged betrothal with the blacksmith, Henry (Max Irons). This love triangle poses an obvious conflict but the film meanders between that and the dark legend that surrounds Valerie's home village. For many years, an evil, mystical wolf has been preying on the villagers at night and now it seems to be back just in time for the rise of the blood moon. When Valerie's sister dies after being attacked by the wolf, the village priest calls on Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) to save them from the monster, only to be told that their "wolf" lives among them.


REVIEW


It's not all that bad. The movie actually looks good. I especially liked the backdrop of scraggly trees, the village huts, the costumes, all of which looked authentic, the "starkness" which served only to emphasize the red of Valerie's hood as she walked on snow. It was all very pleasing and tension-filled. Visually, as opposed to intellectually. But I'm not saying the movie is stupid. No, actually, the whole time I was watching it, I could see where they were trying to go with it and what they were trying to accomplish. There was just something lacking in it, execution-wise.

Maybe it's the script, which was quite weak -- I mean, extremely weak, especially when contrasted to what is actually going on on-screen.

Or maybe it was the weak-ass action sequences. They were muddled, unclear and full of shitty camera tricks that give the appearance of dynamism to an otherwise boring sequence.

Maybe it was the BGM. I don't know about you but I kinda find it weird watching a movie that's supposed to be set in some medieval village in the middle of some godforsaken forest and hearing loud rock music in the background whenever something remotely exciting happens. It's just jarring and totally inappropriate.

Maybe it was the acting. Except for Gary Oldman, the cast was lackluster. Shiloh Fernandez? Handsome and looks the part but can't act if his life depended on it. Max Irons had a better time playing the nice blond kid who inevitably loses the girl to the dark-haired, totally-wrong-for-her bad boy. Amanda Seyfried, I get the big-eyed, blond fairytale leading lady looks but I don't get what the fuss is all about. What's more, I keep confusing her with that other chick who played Isolde in Tristan+Isolde.

That said, the ultimate question is, did I enjoy the movie? No. I enjoyed the idea of it more than the actual thing. In other words, I was better off watching the trailer, which had everything going for it, than watching the entire length of the film in all its horrendous glory. In a nutshell? Red Riding Hood is Twilight but with werewolves. Tweens will love it, but not my cup of tea.

THE SCORE

Story - 6
Sound - 3
Cinematography - 7
Picture - 5
Special Effects - 5
Acting - 5


Overall - 5.2/10

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