Saturday, March 19, 2011

I'm Seeing Red (Riding Hood, That is)!

WARNING: If you want to see this movie, please don't read this review. It contains spoilers that will ruin the viewing experience for you, sending you either into crushing disappointment or blinding rage that will undoubtedly prove detrimental to your relationships with others, leaving you alone and abandoned and causing you to question your life's choices. Also, I don't want to be bombarded with comments that say, "Wahhh wahhh wahhh, you just ruined this movie for me! I haven't slept for two weeks because I can't think about anything else except seeing Red Riding Hood! Oh, cruel world, what will I write about in my diary now?!" Don't say I didn't warn you.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I will commence in my review of Red Riding Hood. First of all, lemme just say that there are slim pickins if you want to see a movie in the theaters right now (barring The King's Speech, but I've already seen that). Your choices are pretty much limited to Liam Neeson, Matthew McConaughey, Hall Pass, Red Riding Hood, or whatever is the "it" children's-computer-animated-3D-holy-shit cartoon movie. But my friend Kathy and I really wanted to go to CineBistro since it's the holy grail of movie theaters (full liquor bar, y'all!), and the only two movies that looked remotely interesting were Hall Pass and Red Riding Hood. We went with Red Riding Hood.

If you recall, the red riding hood fairytale goes a little something like this: Girl takes food to sick grandmother. On the way, girl encounters wolf and tells it that she is going to her grandmother's house. Wolf beats her there, swallows grandmother, and then swallows girl when girl arrives. Hunter then comes, rescues girl and grandmother. They fill wolf's stomach with stones and wolf drowns. The movie, on the other hand, is more like a dookie pie in a crust of festering sores and scabs and topped with the tears of children and the haunted cries of anguished animals, the only resemblance to the fairytale being that it involves Red Riding Hood (also known as Valerie), a wolf and a grandmother.

After an unnecessary and slightly unsettling opening scene involving young Valerie (literally, Little Red Riding hood! Get it?!) and her boy friend (but not boyfriend--yet) about to kill a rabbit they catch in the woods, we come to the village of Daggerhorn, where a werewolf has just killed Valerie's half-sister.


The men of the village, after two generations of being terrorized by the werewolf, finally decide they ain't having none o' that, get sloppy drunk, and decide to go kill it. Among the search party is the man Valerie wants to marry (who is also the boy who helps her kill Thumper in the opening scene):

"I love you! I will avenge your half-sister's death!"

and the man Valerie has to marry:

"Even though you'd rather be sacrificed to the wolf than marry me, I'm still going to risk my life for you because I'm desperate and have no self-esteem...too soon for the wolf reference? I'm's things like that, isn't it?"

Meanwhile, the ineffective village priest decides to call in another priest and pawn the werewolf problem off on him. The visiting priest's town used to be terrorized by a werewolf until the priest killed it and found out it was his wife. This one prior experience apparently makes him an expert.

©Warner Bros.
"I showed that bitch!"

When the men of the village return with the head of a wolf who they think is the one that has been terrorizing them, the visiting priest pretty much says, "That ain't it" and then proceeds to divulge his own experience as well as some tips he picked up about werewolves along the way. It's a pretty harrowing speech, and after his final warning of, "Trust me, that ain't it," the villagers choose to ignore him and celebrate anyway.

Movie Still: Red Riding Hood
"Eff you! You don't know!"

During the course of the celebration, Valerie seeks out the man she wants to marry (also known as Peter) and they decide to go off and have sex in a barn or somewhere, but are interrupted by hellions or something. When Valerie returns to the celebration, we see her full-fledged whoreness when one of her friends asks her where she's been and she pretty much tells her she's been off having sex in a barn or somewhere with Peter instead of what actually happened. Girlfriend should know that's not classy and just makes her look like a ho.

"Guess who just got some?!"

It is at this point that the werewolf appears and decides to do some more terrorizin'. It corners Valerie, and instead of killing her, decides to carry on a conversation. Hey, no judgement here. Conversation is a lost art, so if the werewolf wants to bone up on his skillz, who are we to stop him?

©Warner Bros.
"Told you!"

After the bloodbath, the visiting priest just starts grasping at straws and accuses anyone who looks at him sideways of being the werewolf, proving that he's just as ineffective as the village priest, and kind of an asshole. He is not above trying to place blame on the village's mentally-challenged citizen, Claude, citing that Claude's child-like wonder and amusement with card tricks is a perfectly good reason for him to be a werewolf.

"Trust me, card tricks are not something normal people fuck around with."

Would have been more effective.

Even though the priest was way off the mark in accusing Claude, I personally like the idea of accusing magicians and wannabes of being werewolves and subsequently trying to kill them. There would be less people in the world asking me to pick a card, and less people trying to pawn off their crappy illusions on an unwitting audience. Also, there would be no Criss Angel: Mind Freak. Everybody wins!

©Warner Bros.
"You're next, Criss Angel."

Anyway, it comes to light that Valerie was chit-chatting with the wolf, and she is immediately accused of being a witch and offered up as human sacrifice. Peter ends up freeing her, and after an underwhelming action sequence and reappearance of the werewolf, town efforts are re-doubled in hunting down the furry bastard. Valerie has a nightmare about her grandmother, which is the writers' last-ditch effort to relate this atrocity to the actual fairytale, but, just like the rest of the movie, fails miserably.

"Grandmother! What big eyes you have!"

Red Riding Hood
"The better to see you with, my dear."

Valerie, believing that her grandmother is in trouble, goes to check on her, and finds out that the actual werewolf is...drum roll, please...

Kidding. He's not the werewolf. In this movie, anyway. The werewolf in this movie turns out to be Valerie's dad, who gives a piss-poor, Charlie Sheen-esque explanation as to how he became a werewolf and why he's terrorizing the village peeps that basically boils down to, "I have wolf's blood and your mother cheated on me." So not winning.

Now that's winning.

He then follows that gem with an even weaker argument designed to persuade Valerie to let him turn her into a wolf, like it's some sort of father-daughter bonding thing.

"Come on, it'll be fun!"


Peter, who apparently put two-and-two together at some point and figured out the werewolf's true identity, barges in the grandmother's house and battles Valerie's dad. Valerie decides to pitch in, and they end up killing him, but not before he has a chance to bite Peter, dooming Peter to be a werewolf for the rest of his life. Valerie and Peter sew up a whole bunch of crap in her dad's chest like some sort of twisted time capsule, and Peter goes off to learn how to be a wolf that doesn't terrorize people.

"We'll open it when we're 40."

Red Riding Hood movie stills 14
"I gotta go, bye bye."

The ending is just a pathetic attempt to wrap everything up: the village goes back to how it used to be, the people being afraid of the werewolf even though they're no longer being attacked, Valerie living by herself in her grandmother's house. The final scene of the movie shows that Peter (as the wolf) has come back, but I think Valerie ends up running off with him. To be honest, I'm not quite sure, as it was ambiguous and I didn't care. As long as I'm being honest, I should disclose that I left out a whole bunch of details, but, trust me, they don't really add anything to the movie. It still sucks.

If you've read up until now and still don't know how I feel about this movie, allow me to spell it out for you: I'd rather watch an hour and a half of Ben Stein trying to teach advanced physics than this piece of cinematic crapola. It's not suspenseful, it doesn't make sense, and just winds up being an unintentional hilarious joke.


  1. LOL.

    Best line: "We'll open it when we're 40."

  2. I loved this movie for some reason, but this made me laugh my ass off. hahaha