by Lorie Lewis Ham
Special coupon for Dinuba Platinum Theatre at the end of this review.
When I saw the previews for Red Riding Hood I was afraid it was just another campy teen movie taking advantage of the Twilight fame with forbidden love and werewolves, especially since it’s from the same director; but boy was I wrong.
While paying homage to the old tale of Red Riding Hood and other wolf related fairytales that most of us know from our childhood, by scattering throughout the script little sayings like “Grandma what big eyes you have…”, this movie has very little in common with the familiar story beyond her red cape.
Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) grew up in a village where they were all afraid of werewolves. To remain safe they sacrificed animals to the werewolves and never ventured out into the woods alone. However Valerie had always been one to break the rules, running off into the woods since childhood to play and hunt with her friend Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). Now a grown woman, Valerie is in love with Peter but is betrothed to another young man her mother finds more suitable. She is all set to run off with Peter and defy her parents when the wolf strikes the village for the first time in years killing her sister.
Into the village comes a religious man who is supposed to be a champion werewolf killer and expert, whom we learn is obsessed with werewolves since the death of his wife. But is he really a hero or a menace? He will stop at nothing to kill the werewolf and tells them that the werewolf is one of their own. Valerie learns she has a connection to the werewolf that she does not understand and which puts her in even greater danger.
This story was beautifully done all the way around. The acting and writing were excellent, the wolf himself was frightening, and it was filled with unexpected twists and turns. All throughout the movie we, just like Valerie, are wondering who the wolf really is.
Though this movie is nothing like Twilight, it was interesting to notice that Billy Burke, who played Bella’s father in Twilight, played Valerie’s father. Shiloh Fernandez may be recognized from his many TV appearances in shows such as Jericho and Gossip Girl. Max Irons plays the young man Valerie is betrothed to that I was completely ready to hate and didn’t—while his credits are few I would expect great things from him for not only did he do a fine job of acting in this movie he is very nice to look at. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys adventure, romance, suspense, new twists on old fairytales and movies set in medieval times.
Red Riding Hood is now playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6. Showtimes can be found on their website.