Warner Brothers needs to find another franchise they can squeeze money out of since Harry Potter is ending and they were too stupid to nab the Twilight series. So what's the next best thing? Turn a childhood fairy tale into a 100 minute long feature film and add in sexy teenage love with horror for children and base it off a book that I sure hope was better than this awful script. Then you nab the crappy director of the first Twilight movie, Catherine Hardwicke, to direct it in hopes of giving the Hot Topic crowd more gothic romance t-shirts to buy. The fact that any studio would even trust Hardwicke with another movie after Twilight is beyond me. The good news for her though is the Red Riding Hood is at least a little better than Twilight, but just barely. She has a profound way of not being able to direct actors to produce a good performance. Casting actors who can't act is only a problem in some of them like new hunky dufuses that play the love interests of Red Riding Hood aka Valerie, Shiloh Fernandez (Dead Girl) and Max Irons (Dorian Gray). But she gets her hands on well accomplished actors like Gary Oldman (JFK, Dracula) and Julie Christie (Hamlet, Finding Neverland) and still gets stale, vapid, empty performances from them. Red Riding Hood is embarrassing to watch. There's nothing good in the film at all. That's not to say that the whole thing is a mess though. The imagery is pretty decent. Sure the sets look like something out of a made-for-TV movie but the shots of Valerie, played by Amanda Seyfried (Jennifer's Body, Mama Mia), walking through the snowy woods on her way to Grandmother's house with her long red riding cloak flowing behind her are pretty neat to see. Plus I enjoyed the Whodunit? approach to who the wolf is. That held my interest through the entire movie but that was the only thing that did. The zombie-like performances and cheesy dialogue was enough to make wish the wolf would pick off some of the key characters earlier in the movie. The romance in Red Riding Hood is as thin as the paper it was printed on. Never once do you find yourself caring about anyone in the movie, especially the young love triangle that feels as warm and authentic as an arraigned marriage. I'm not even sure who could really look at this movie and say it was a success. I would imagine that if you're a fan of the book, you'd be pissed it was ruined. If you never read the book , you'd just be bored out of your mind. And if you're a Twilight fan, a teenage girl, or both, you'd only feel like this was a cheap ripoff. And a cheap ripoff of Twilight is the stuff that crap is made of.
Red Riding Hood (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: C-