Complete A-Z list

Red Riding Hood


Stars: Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Julie Christie, Virginia Madsen, Billy Burke, Lukas Haas, Shauna Kain

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Twilight meets The Beast Must Die in a well-made romantic horror that nicks the title of the fairytale without much justification. Blood Moon would have been a more accurate title.

Beast actually carried a 'werewolf break' towards the end in which the audience was challenged to guess the identity of the beast, and you might as well get one here for all the chance you've got: herrings (red, of course) abound, and the 'killer' is more densely hidden than in an Agatha Christie mystery.

The film is nicely set in in a spooky, medieval, mist-shrouded 'mittel-European' village, and generally keeps up a lively pace, even if the romance drips from the Mills and Boon vein and, in Twilight fashion, the heroine, Valerie (Seyfried), has two dreamy (if equally dull) suitors in darkly brooding Fernandez, and upright Irons (son of Jeremy).

The 'adult' cast is strong: Madsen (still beautiful at 47) and Burke as Valerie's parents, Christie as her grandma (the film tries to justify its title by giving Valerie both a red cape and a nightmare about granny turning into a big bad wolf) and Oldman, as the fiery werewolf hunter who arrives in the village and puts pretty much everyone to the sword. Any of them, and a few more besides, could be the wolf, and that certainly keeps things hopping.

Werewolf effects are a wee bit ropy, but the snowscape settings are breathtaking, and Christie brings real power and depth to Gran. Twilight fans will love it.

David Quinlan

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
100 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 09 Apr 2011