2010 Running time: 110 Certificate: 12 Not yet rated

Synopsis

The legendary European fairy tale is given a Twilight-style Hollywood spin with Amanda Seyfried as Valerie, the scarlet-robed village girl stalked by a ravenous wolf. In director Catherine Hardwicke's tween-focused reworking, Valerie is the object of desire for a lowly woodcutter (Shiloh Fernandez) and his rival, a higher-born blacksmith (Max Irons). However, they have to form an uneasy alliance to protect her from a predatory werewolf who's at his most dangerous during a blood-red moon.

Director

  • Catherine Hardwicke

Cast

  • Amanda Seyfried

  • Shiloh Fernandez

  • Max Irons

  • Gary Oldman

  • Julie Christie

Review

"My Miss Hardwicke, what a big budget you have..."

"All the better to clumsily graft the plot of Twilight onto a classic fairytale and ask Gary Oldman to overact."

Yes, Catherine Hardwicke, the inspirational director of Thirteen and studio alchemist who spun box office gold from Stephenie Mayer's vampire romance, has padded on to another wolfish tale.

However, the classic legend of Red Riding Hood with its dark themes of burgeoning sexual maturity, adult deception and primal fear gets relegated to the backwoods.

Instead, we have to put up with an anaemic teenage love triangle occupied by Valerie, Amanda Seyfried's village waif, her true love woodcutter Peter (Fernandez) and arranged husband-to-be Henry (Irons).

As if the path of true love doesn't run true as it is, there's also another suitor clamouring for Val's attention - a bony werewolf who prowls around the medieval village of Daggerhorn every full moon.

This time - with the lunar cycle producing a rare blood moon - he ignores the peasants' proferred sacrifice and kills one of their own - Valerie's younger sister Lucie.

Basically this borrows Twlight's romantic conceit and then cherry-picks the choicest morsels from the old fairy tale - predatory wolf, suspicious grandma and big scarlet cloak.

However, this medieval world is never remotely believable - the village looks like an Amish suburb of LA peopled by dentally-perfect specimens with Hollywood hair and rustic smocks by Donna Karan.

The two male leads are as wooden as the surrounding forest and it's up to a scenery-chewing Gary Oldman to enliven things as a sort of Witchfinder General with a new line tracking werewolves.

Tweens will probably be drawn to Seyfriend's romantic quandary but the rest of us won't bite.

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