The classic Brothers Grimm fairytale gets a teen update in Red Riding Hood, a movie that is squarely aimed at the Twilight audience (and is even helmed by the first instalment’s director Catherine Hardwicke).
Valerie (Seyfried) is the gal with the crimson cape – given to her by her reclusive granny (Julie Christie) – but she’s not worried about your average big bad wolf. The wolf terrorising her village is of the werewolf kind, and could actually be (gasp!) one of the villagers, cursed to turn big, hairy, toothy and hungry when the moon appears. Could it be rich boy Henry (Irons, son of Jeremy), whom Valerie is supposed to marry, or hunky woodcutter Peter (Fernandez)? Don’t worry, wolf hunter Father Solomon (Oldman) soon turns up to deliver his own brand of justice to the furry beast… if he can figure out who it is, and why the wolf seems to have a special relationship with Valerie.
Directed with 12 to 15-year-old girls in mind who like their heroine to have two men to choose from (another Twilight similarity – perhaps the movie can be renamed Twilight: Red Moon and stop pretending it’s not a homage/copy), this favours romance over scares and scenes involving Seyfried looking stunning over plot logic. Adults will snigger as Oldman – camping it up big-time – arrives in a carriage followed by a large metal elephant (you find out why later, and it isn’t pretty), and scoff as the werewolf kills but doesn’t eat a victim, but girls will like this daft-but-fun tale of medieval teen traumas, brooding boys, and things that go growl in the night.
Note to grown-ups: if you want a better twist on the Red Riding Hood tale, watch Neil Jordan’s 1984 film The Company Of Wolves (based on Angela Carter’s story). Alas, it’s not aimed at kids so isn’t reviewed on movies4kids.
Is Red Riding Hood suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
There are a few blood-and-guts moments but nothing that should scare a teenager (the film is a 12A certificate so not suitable for younger viewers).