With endearing eyes bigger than the big bad wolf, Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) is the most desirable young lass in her dark little village. The folk have to bear with the curse of the full moon, which brings with it the attack of a werewolf.

Based in a medieval setting, ‘Red Riding Hood’ starts off with Valerie’s childhood romance with woodcutter Peter and her turmoil when she learns that her parents have arranged for her to marry the most eligible bachelor around, Henry. That, however, is the least of her problems. When the werewolf attacks her sister revealing secrets that shake her ground, her bravado is tested.

It takes a while for these events to lay the foundation, which is thoroughly disconcerting. You just want it to get on with it already. And then it does, with the first appearance of a highly digital werewolf the movie gathers speed. Father Solomon visits the village with a quest to vanquish the werewolf and warns the people that the wolf could be one among them.

It is a little difficult to take the setting and grave circumstances seriously because of the generous sprinkling of random sound effects, inserted to obviously induce suspense but failing miserably. In the midst of all the terror Valerie is busy basking in the attention bestowed by the two men and progresses to being scrutinized by the entire village when they realize that the werewolf only wants her, and alive. So bold little Valerie finds that she can’t find comfort anywhere, not even in grandma’s arms.

Grandma (Julie Christy) is undoubtedly the most intriguing and well played character. She makes your hair stand on end. Catherine Hardwicke does manage to draw her audience in, imitating the effect of a thrilling novel where you’re guessing who the culprit is, but it all falls flat somewhere. The wolf is out of place in its modern avatar in the vintage atmosphere and the romance doesn’t quite echo passion. Seyfried’s performance is commendable but she could have had more fire. As for the men, they’re cute teenagers but need to majorly work on the acting skills.

Just good looking kids won’t cut it. Comparisons to ‘Twilight’ are inevitable as shades of it are evident. Although probably a notch higher in terms of film, ‘Red Riding Hood’ doesn’t have a solid fan following to back it up. The loom of gloom and grandma’s suspicious little shack aren’t quite as enticing as her trailing scarlet hood.

This seems to be the best pick of the weekend lot, but don’t expect to be blown away with a ‘huff and a puff’ of the big bad wolf.

Raashi Malhotra


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