Movie review: Red Riding Hood

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

If "Red Riding Hood's" picturesque town of Daggerhorn, with its surrounding forest and angst-ridden teenage population, seems reminiscent of the city of Forks, Washington, it shouldn't come as a surprise.

Director Catherine Hardwicke's last movie was "Twilight," the first film in the huge tween franchise, and she seems reluctant to let go of all that teen melodrama.

Fortunately, "Red Riding Hood's" darker tone and graphic violence - this is not the kid-friendly fairy tale - elevates it above that vampire love story.

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is meant to marry Henry (Max Irons), a wealthy shop owner, but she's in love with childhood crush Peter (Shiloh Fernandez).

Things get complicated when Daggerhorn's shaky truce with the local werewolf is broken and Valerie's sister becomes a victim. The violence brings about werewolf hunter Solomon (Gary Oldman), a man with the singular focus of destroying the creature, even if he has to take out a few townspeople in the process.

The film is a good blend of a familiar story and a new fleshed-out narrative, although lines about "big eyes" and "big teeth" are unnecessarily cheesy.

The capable Seyfried carries this movie. The werewolf's identity is almost laughingly obvious, but the emotional depth Seyfried adds to Valerie is more than enough to keep our interest in this good, but flawed film.

Red Riding Hood

Opens Friday

3 stars out of 4