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Michael Hogan
Amanda Seyfried
Gary Oldman
Julie Christie
Billy Burke
Max Irons.
Catherine Hardwicke.
David Johnson.
Running Time
99 minutes

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Red Riding Hood
Hardwicke’s hairy tale

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Dealing with her frowned-upon love for woodcutter Peter (Fernandez), Valerie (Seyfried) also has to contend with a wolf stalking her medieval village home, paranoia spreading as hunter Father Solomon (Oldman) announces that it’s actually a werewolf, who might be one of the villagers...

Red Riding Hood
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Tim Burton – for thanks to his billion-dollar hit Alice In Wonderland, now every old morality play and legend is being brushed off and given an update in the hope of earning similar box-office success. And while there’s blame being tossed around, try Twilight, which is an undeniable influence here, with the connective tissue strengthened by the fact that director Catherine Hardwicke launched the vampire film franchise.

Still, Hardwicke deserves some credit for not pumping out a carbon copy of her earlier effort: working from David Leslie Johnson’s script, which utilises the original, pre-Grimm Brothers folk tales, she’s crafted a Red Riding Hood set in a fantastical medieval landscape where traditions hold strong and there’s danger lurking in the woods. With her keen visual eye and flair for the dramatic, she’s conjured up a compelling world for Amanda Seyfried’s headstrong Valerie to inhabit. By turns impish, flirty, scared and strong, she’s a great heroine, and Seyfried’s performance is bewitching. Trouble is, there’s very little that matches up to her passion. A love triangle between Valerie, Shiloh Fernandez’s workman and Max Irons’ wealthier, more “suitable” Henry fizzles more than it sparks, especially since Fernandez is more cookie-cutter than woodcutter and Irons is never all that much competition for Seyfried’s affections. Thank goodness, then, for Julie Christie’s grandmother figure, who brings some mystique to the proceedings.

And, as the tension rises and Oldman arrives to whip up a literal witch-hunt around the village, the story suddenly becomes more interesting again. Friends turn on friends; family members begin to suspect each other and Gary Oldman stalks the screen like a cross between Jack Straw and a Eurotrash Van Helsing. The message about swapping freedoms for security is hardly subtle, but it’s more interesting than the tepid romantic element. The guessing game of where-wolf is also more fun than the actual creature itself, which really should’ve stayed in the shadows after such a long, dramatic build-up. Brief flashes of the creature attacking are effective, but later extended shots show a purely pixel-powered lycanthrope that would make Rick Baker shake his ponytail in disgust.

Oldman and Seyfried prove to be the big attractions, but Hardwicke’s Riding Hood legend still lacks bite.

Reviewed by William Thomas

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Red Riding Hood
Empire Star Rating

RE: just AWFUL

LOL Hughezyvstheworld - i agree with your review 100% this was just utter cr*p - from the poor script to the really bad cinematography. God it was awful. So glad i watched this on DVD. I only watched for Max Irons. BTW - I found it unintentially funny. LOL @the lead in her mouse iron mask - hilarious!!!! ... More

Posted by princessa at 11:45, 03 January 2014 | Report This Post

just AWFUL

it's even bad on a technical scale: it looks like they live on a film set, not a small village. plus, it's set in a snowy mountain area.... YET NO ONE ACTS COLD EVER! plus, when they walk on the show it sounds like... FAKE SNOW! should rename it Little BROWN Riding Hood..... see what I did there? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hughezyvstheworld at 12:27, 13 May 2012 | Report This Post

RE: I liked it

This film was rubbish. Just a drawn-out pop video piece of poo. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by OPEN YOUR EYES at 17:03, 09 February 2012 | Report This Post

RE: I liked it

Crap. Just crap. ... More

Posted by DONOVAN KURTWOOD at 11:24, 23 November 2011 | Report This Post

RE: I liked it

The main problem with this film that it is superficial. Okay, there are many films about desire and wishes, but here these all somehow change into almost naked selfishness. ... More

Posted by szoni at 10:31, 22 November 2011 | Report This Post

RE: I liked it

As a film this is awful but as a comedy film it's awesome. 1/5. Love werewolf films just not this one. ... More

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Posted by NCC1701A at 10:33, 21 November 2011 | Report This Post

I liked it

Not perfect but looks great. Could have been better though. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 21:46, 15 October 2011 | Report This Post

So bad it's funny

This definitely doesn't deserve three stars! I even liked Twilight (although I won't pretend it's one of the best movies ever and the acting isn't top class either) but this was just awful. My sister and I had a lot of fun watching it, but not because it was so good, we just laughed at the clichés (all 257 of them) and the badly written lines. Seyfried wasn't that good, actually none of the actors succeeded at adding depth to their characters (although the grandmother was intriguing), but I... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by carolinedevoecht at 09:27, 28 August 2011 | Report This Post

Red Riding Hood: Review

Red Riding Hood is a bad film. My problems with this film is the fact the title is misleading. The Red Riding Hood I heard in my childhood was nowhere near what this movie was. I couldnt really care about the characters or who lived or die and the film is just boring. The only good part in this film is the wolf scenes in the film are pretty cool. I would recommend not to see this film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Edward9630 at 02:10, 08 August 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Red Riding Hood

Although there’s already been  ny Of Wolvesfairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood is so rich in symbolism and metaphor, not to mention potential horror, that it could easily use a somewhat closer film adaptation.  ing Hood ly succeeds visually, with Mandy Walker’s gorgeous photography really evoking a sense of a fairy tale world-there’s a really early shot of two children in a garden which is one of the most beautiful shots I’ve seen in ages.   The script vies bet... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 20:49, 03 May 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Red Riding Hood

Caution: This review contains spoilers. Grandma, what big teeth you have. All the better to nibble you gently with my dear. If there is one thing this dark twist on a classic fairy tale is missing, it’s bite. I hurried down to my local cinema last Wednesday night, itching with anticipation at being plunged into the depths of a haunted world that would leave me terrified of the big, bad wolf. I was expecting to leave an hour and forty minutes later, looking over my shoulder for the pr... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Johnny Major at 10:33, 28 April 2011 | Report This Post

Arsehole reviewer!

Fuck you Empire!!!! I went against the popular opinion that this was shit because you seemed to think it was good. Not that I put any stock in your reviews anymore (Attack of the Clones way back when saw to that) but surely to fuck it wouldn't be THAT bad. Surely it was closer to a 3 than a 1. Go and ask my bollocks, if you consider this to be good. SHOCKING! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sephiroth7 at 17:50, 19 April 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Jesus Christ

No it wasn't that bad. The story is very boring, and due to how bland the male leads are it is nearly impossible to engage with the love element. But on a design level it was impressive, and Gary Oldman is very good fun. At times tidous, but still enough in it to prevant it being terrible. 5.5/10 ... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 16:24, 18 April 2011 | Report This Post

Jesus Christ

3 Stars!? Are you joking? This was atrocious. ... More

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Posted by AboyNamedSue at 13:53, 18 April 2011 | Report This Post

3 Stars really????

seriously... this got more than no stars!!! At a push I may have given it 1 (that would be just for Gary Oldman). I didn't expect much from the trailer and the fact that it was from the director who brought us Twishite, but this was just plain awful... almost on a par with Fred: The Movie!!! Avoid at all costs!!!! Plus I give this one star because I have too!! ... More

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Posted by J_BUltimatum at 11:36, 17 April 2011 | Report This Post

RE: Red Riding Hood

Director: ne Hardwicke Screenwriter: eslie Johnson Starring: Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie Synopsis When the medieval village of Daggerhorn is terrorised by a werewolf, the infamous hunter Father Solomon (Oldman) suggests that the beast is one of the village folk, while Valerie (Seyfried) gets involved in the middle of it all. Review When Catherine Hardwicke dug her teeth into the first Tw... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 19:08, 15 April 2011 | Report This Post


L: jace007 Strictly for girls who like horror movies ruined by women directors (who have no clue about the genre). remarks are so offenvisive, and untrue it is shocking. Why can't a female understand the horror genre, lets face it there are plenty of men doing a shitty job at it right now, and Hardwicke has proven in her other work to be a very solid talent. ... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 16:14, 13 April 2011 | Report This Post

another interesting rating

critics on rotten tomatoes have it at 11%, user reviews on rotten tomatoes have it at 40%. Empire has it at 60% With this and sucker punch, im starting to think Empire doesnt know how to review a movie anymore ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Notmyrealusername at 15:50, 11 April 2011 | Report This Post

Strictly for girls who like horror movies ruined by women directors (who have no clue about the genre). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jace007 at 13:58, 11 April 2011 | Report This Post

Strictly for girls who like horror movies ruined by women directors (who have no clue about the genre). ... More

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Posted by jace007 at 13:58, 11 April 2011 | Report This Post

Very generous...

William Thomas is incredibly generous with his review. The film is devoid of any acting talent, and while the trailer looks like there's at least some stylized directing, there's very little of that either. But the worst thing is the appalling script. How this got past the money men is baffling. There's also a rather pathetic attempt at recreating the Twilight love triangle, but it's so lacking in development/performance it makes it makes Twilight look Oscar worthy. Avoid! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Taggart at 12:53, 11 April 2011 | Report This Post

"Brief flashes of the creature attacking are effective, but later extended shots show a purely pixel-powered lycanthrope that would make Rick Baker shake his ponytail in disgust." Colour me surprised. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by badsanta at 00:34, 11 April 2011 | Report This Post

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