Last night I slipped a DVD of Red Riding Hood (2011) into the player. Well, I figured, at least Amanda Seyfried offers some eye candy.
Perhaps my experience benefited from low expectations. Having seen various reviews of this film that clustered somewhere between “eh” and “so-so,” I was surprised to find myself enjoying it. It may be a rare movie that works better on a home screen than in a theater. (It was released opposite The Battle for Los Angeles which is definitely a big screen movie.) Red Riding Hood is no blockbuster, nor is it a truly frightening horror film. Nonetheless, if you’re a person who unapologetically enjoys the sort of movie typically shown on Syfy or the Chiller channel, you’ll probably like this also – and the production values are 10 times better than the usual stuff found there. The small medieval village where the story is set is beautifully recreated and filmed. Amanda Seyfried is as good a pick for the title part as is possible, and the other castmembers all play their parts well enough.
As for the central werewolf mystery, I’ve seen a few complaints to the effect of “I saw it coming.” Well, I didn’t exactly. To be sure, the hairy beast turns out to be one out of a bunch of logical suspects, but it’s supposed to be one of those. Fans of mysteries consider it cheating when an author offers no proper clues amid the red herrings; they hate it when, in the final chapter, the killer turns out to be some obscure person with no previously disclosed motive. The film works fine on this level.
All in all, this is a moody and different take on an old tale of a young woman and a big bad wolf. Don’t expect a gore-fest or action-adventure, but, if you take it on its own terms, you just might surprise yourself by enjoying it, too.