Red Riding Hood meets expectations

You probably remember the good old days when life was simple, bunched up under the covers of your bed, while your mom or dad sat next to you reading a fairytale that has probably lived forever with you as a classic. And if you remember one story in particular that involves a little naive girl in a red cloak trying to get to her grandmother’s house, the twist on the classic story portrayed in the recently released film, “Red Riding Hood”, might have you thinking about what the Brothers Grimm would think of our society’s modern adaptation.

Amanda Seyfried (“Mamma Mia”, “Dear John”) plays Valerie, the adventurous young woman who has been blessed in looks, living in a medieval village that for 200 years has only known the haunting of one thing: a vicious werewolf. But while this werewolf had only been feeding off of the animals sacrificed to it by the villagers over the centuries, with the waning of the blood moon the creature suddenly takes a slightly different path: attacking villagers in hopes of one goal not fully explained until the end of the film.

Valerie, however, depicts the cliché “damsel in distress” as not only the woman caught in the struggle to surpass the werewolf’s bad intentions, but as the sole desire of two men: one the son of a highly respected village elder that has earned the blessing from her parents for her hand in marriage and another an orphaned rogue, Peter, who has been living in the village as a woodcutter. But like Valerie says in the beginning of the movie, she does not always listen to what her mother tells her and ultimately falls deeply in love with the young woodcutter by the time the reel begins, wanting to run away with him and disobey her parents’ wishes.

This, however, changes by the werewolf’s hand at murdering her sister and still tangled in the mess of the love triangle, Valerie and Peter stay put in the village until everything can be worked out. From there it all turns out to be a dangerous game of figuring out fellow good villagers from the evil as a deluded priest arrives by the name of Soloman (played by Gary Oldman) and tells the inhabitants of the village that no one is safe from the werewolf. After all, the creature could be anyone since the werewolf returns to its human form in the daytime.

Only a little time goes by before Hardwicke picks up the pace further when the werewolf ends up crashing the village’s celebration one night to secretly reveal its ability to talk to Valerie so that only she may know. Valerie keeps this a secret in fears of being held as a witch for being able to talk to the creature while Soloman’s own twisted actions by means of his past quickly become revealed, willing to sacrifice Valerie to the wolf as he finds out her secret.

However, while the trailer for the film depicts the plot as perhaps a mediocre copy of Catherine Hardwick’s first installment of the “Twilight Saga” films, the end result really takes a turn not completely expected like the film may have originally wanted the audience to anticipate.

Though, as many critics agree, the film lacked a richer plot and more intensive characters, other than ones mentioned briefly and then pushed aside in the weaving of the story to finally reveal who the real werewolf is. And, though not completely like “Twilight”, the movie’s use of a forbidden love and a heavy emphasis of the possibility of that love being of the supernatural can reign as some direct parallels to the vampire flick, although not nearly as dull.

With gorgeous cinematography and some valuable credit to the creative, if you like action and some romance tied into a not thoroughly disappointing movie, then “Red Riding Hood” may probably be for you.

Rating: B