|Still from Red Riding Hood|
Catherine Hardwicke has a lot - pardon the pun - riding on her re-imagining of Red Riding Hood after much criticism for the first Film in The Twilight Saga series. She does however, step up to the challenge and prevails in her darker take on The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale.
Amanda Seyfried stars in the role of Valerie, a Girl in the village of Daggerhorn who is caught between two lovers - one aristocratic in Henry (Max Irons, son of Jeremy) and one whom she loves by choice in Peter (Shiloh Fernandez). After her Sister is found dead at the paws of a Wolf which terrorizes her Village, soon we learn that it has its eyes on her with the intentions of taking her away. Valerie is frightened to learn that she is in fact able to communicate with the Wolf and after this is uncovered, she is accused of being a Witch.
Unsure of its true identity and desperate to rid of the Wolf, the Village calls upon the corrupt and tyrannical Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), who reveals that the Wolf actually can manifest itself in human form as long as it bites its Victim before the end of the Blood Moon (the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon). As the Village grows mad with paranoia as the deadly Wolf ever-presently lurks in the background, we wonder whether the Wolf's true identity ever will be unveiled and whether or not Valerie will escape from it unharmed. All the while, with both her Suitors risking their lives to protect her, we want to know who she will choose as her Lover, Henry or Peter?
Despite starting off on shaky ground, Red Riding Hood takes flight with the arrival of the fantastically impossible Oldman, who commands the Screen for much of the Film. Fernandez and porcelain-skinned beauty Seyfried play off each other well as young lovers and by the end of it all you might even find yourself shedding a tear. Irons in his first major role, would have given it more of a fight for Valerie with a better -written Script from David Johnson, but we all know he never really was in the running.
Hardwicke delivers the suspense effectively, keeping us engaged with Red Riding Hood and although it is by no means the quality of Storytelling she gave us with 2004's shocking coming-of-age Film Thirteen, the Audience she is delivering to will enjoy it.... a lot. And thank God it's not in 3-D. Red Riding Hood is in theatres March 11, 2011. Grade: B+