Red Riding Hood is a re-imaging of the classic folk tale “Little Red Riding Hood” strongly capitalizing on the vampire and werewolf movies that are in the mainstream at the moment . Inspired by the beloved fairy tale, director Catherine Hardwicke (“Twilight”) reveals an edgy side of this classic story, complete with passion and mystery.
Starring Amanda Seyfreid (“Letters to Juliet,” “Mamma Mia”), “Red Riding Hood” is the tale of beautiful young villager Valerie (Seyfried), who is promised in marriage to one man but in love with another. Her troubles intensify when the local werewolf rejects its monthly animal sacrifice and kills Valerie’s older sister. When a werewolf hunter, played by Gary Oldman (the “Harry Potter” series), tells the villagers that the werewolf is disguised among the villages in human form, Valerie discovers a unique connection to the werewolf. Their connection inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect and bait.
For its first Blu-ray release, "Red Riding Hood" features an alternate ending, a high definition version, a standard definition version and a digital copy of the film in a two disc (Blu-Ray/DVD combo) set. The disc set is loaded with extra features including deleted scenes, a gag reel, casting and rehearsal footage and a couple behind-the-scenes documentaries. The extras are interesting to look at, but the “Alternate Ending” wasn’t worthy of all the hype. Stay with the theatrical version and enjoy it as it was meant to be.
For what it is, Red Riding Hood is a well-executed film with a strong cast, a great lead actress (Seyfried) and a familiar story. It is presented in a very ghostly and melodramatic feel, similar to Hardwicke’s Twilight film and also takes on many traits of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.
At times, the similarities between Red Riding Hood and The Village are obvious. Both occur in innocent and isolated villages and both populations are trusting and simple people. But that’s really where the similarities between the two end. Red Riding Hood is a superior film to The Village in production, story and acting. Seyfried is a joy to watch as she traps us with her cunning ability to tell a story. Although not as adorable as Sophie Sheridan was in Mamma Mia, Valerie is about as beautiful and alluring as the villagers get.
If you like mystery, wolves, grandmothers, big ears, big eyes and big mouths, then Red Riding Hood is worth checking out.