Red Riding Hood
PG-13
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -2

Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Julie Christie. Romantic Fantasy Thriller. Writer: David Leslie Johnson. Director: Catherine Hardwicke.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie’s older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village. For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon’s arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. Panic grips the town as Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast—one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect…and bait.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Viewing the carnage being done to classic literature, I was reminded of the old Hammer films and similar Roger Corman-like drive-in movies (Horror of Dracula, The Conqueror Worm, The Tomb of Ligeia), B-films that starred the likes of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee as mad clergymen bent on destroying evil by torturing nubile young women. And since the Beauty and the Beast theme is box office magic of late, R.R.H. also contains elements found in Twilight, with a pouty beauty and the young stud with the messy hair seeking the proverbial happy-ever-after in a series of angst-ridden sequels. Alas, even the old Hammer films were better than this assault on children’s literature. A colleague said to me as we left the theater, “Well, try and get those two hours back, Phil.”

I guess my friend’s rebuke of the film sums it up. It’s an unnecessary film, one that tries to say something profound about the lies we live with, but failing to leave us with more than a pretentious redo of the classic fairytale, a whole lot of bad acting, and two hours less to live.

One thing I liked: the demonic CGI wolf couldn’t come onto church property, it being holy ground. It was like Count Dracula having to flee from the sight of the cross. I wouldn’t however, attend this film looking for religious profundity.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: This werewolf is huge, quick and brutal, but the filmmaker adheres to the PG-13 rating, avoiding an excess of gore; in other words, the scenes are cut short, the camera avoiding too much blood; that said, there are violent acts including stabbings, arms and limbs severed, beatings and some torture; we also see surgery performed on a dead body, the corpse having rocks sown into the chest cavity so the body can sink in the lake. Blood: A werewolf savages a small community – oh yeah, there’s some blood.
Sexual Intercourse: Two sexual situations between the two young and single lovers, but each cut short.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Thinking they’ve killed the carnivorous creature, the townsfolk celebrate, tying one on.
Other: None
Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and up.

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