Red Riding Hood
Reliance Home Video
Directed as this 2011 film is by Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, there’s bound to be a pink Goth, teen-friendly sheen covering Red Riding Hood, one of the darkest European folk tales collected by both Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. But if you’re prepared to overlook the Bollywood-style over-acting and see the film as an opera minus the bellowings, this filtered take on the girl with the red hood can be quite pleasurable viewing.
Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie in the title role with the right amount of loopiness and spunkiness, even as she is caught in a love triangle while her village comes under the attack of a werewolf. To rid of this beast enters Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a kind of Van Helsing-meets-the Spanish Inquisition figure, who has experience in slaying werewolves. There is fun recognising tropes not only from the ‘original’ Red Riding Hood — the grandmother (Julie Christie) living in a cottage by her own away from the village proper, the sexual tension between the wolf and Valerie — but also from other tales like Hansel and Gretel and Three Billy Goats Gruff (where stones are stitched inside the wolf's belly). There’s a vicious twist in the tale near the end that Twilight fans will certainly learn one day as Freudian swirls (incidentally, the fathers of the girls in both movies are played by Billy Burke). The look of the movie is low Wagner. But at least there’s no emo chalk-pale vampire boy to bother us in this rom-trag.