Red Riding Hood

  • Review Date: January 3, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Twilight-esque fairy-tale thriller mixes sexuality, horror.
  • Review Date: January 3, 2011
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Age(i)

2
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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Many of the movie's messages are focused on relationships, and they aren't necessarily positive for adolescents. Valerie says things like "I'd do anything to be with you," and Peter affirms that they should run away, leaving everyone and everything behind to be together. That's not a healthy message for teens already inundated with messages that Twilight-level obsessiveness equals the pinnacle of romance. Then there's the wolf, who, when revealed, expresses a desire to have a partner in using the vicious power to kill, terrorize, and reign over people.

Positive role models

Many of the characters act selfishly -- even Valerie, who is willing to leave everyone behind for love one moment but willing to sacrifice herself the next. Father Solomon means well, but his methods are ruthless; Father Auguste tries to save some of his parishioners, but he's too late; Henry and Peter act courageously some times and selfishly others, but as a whole are genuinely trying to help Valerie.

Violence

The werewolf attacks the village many times, killing dozens of citizens. People are dismembered, decapitated, stabbed, and tortured to death. The violence is edited in a way that minimizes some of the more graphic, gorier deaths, but the audience still sees many people get killed, including a man whose arm is ripped off, a young man who's burned alive, and a few characters who are killed by loved ones or associates because of their connection to the wolf.

Sex

Valerie and Peter flirt as children and, as young adults, touch and kiss quite passionately several times, occasionally saying sexually charged things to each other. At one point he kisses her so fiercely that he picks her up; she wraps her legs around him, and he says, "I could eat you up." In another scene, they get horizontal, and she asks "Don't you want me?" which prompts him to start unfastening her top, until they're interrupted. Valerie also hugs Henry and gives him a kiss on the cheek, and Valerie and Prudence dance provocatively while Peter dances with Rose. A young woman offers her body in exchange for her brother's release, but she's refused.

Language

Insulting language (particularly to young women) includes "slut," "harlot," "witch," "devil's daughter," "coward," and more. Also "oh my God."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In several scenes, men and women drink -- in many cases to excess -- at the town pub and during a hedonistic celebration. A few men look drunk, and one character is shown passed out next to a pool of vomit.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this teen twist on Little Red Riding Hood from Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke is a romance-and-horror mix that's not for young kids. While there are no overt love scenes, there are several scenes of the main couple kissing, groping, and breathing heavily in each other's presence; at one point, the lead boy is about to undress his girl but is interrupted. But the sexuality pales in comparison with the violence, which is frequent and disturbing and features dismembered limbs, torture, and a high body count. What's more, the movie's overall message of "love conquers all" is buried beneath the dangerous-for-teens idea that if you love someone, you should be willing to leave your family and home to be with them.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) lives in a remote Italian village that's routinely terrorized by a werewolf. The villagers make do by sealing up their homes and leaving the wolf sacrificial animals during the full moon, but every now and then, the wolf kills. One morning, Valerie is told she's to marry Henry (Max Irons), the well-off blacksmith's son, instead of her heart's desire, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), the hardworking woodcutter she's been friends with since childhood. Valerie and Peter decide to run away together -- but then the wolf strikes, killing Valerie's sister and prompting the town cleric, Father Auguste (Lukas Haas), to send for renowned wolf-hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), who imposes a strict, ruthless rule over the town. When the wolf appears and speaks directly to Valerie, everyone believes she's a witch who needs to be sacrificed to the wolf. As Henry and Peter work together to save the girl they both love, the entire town turns on itself with suspicion.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Director Catherine Hardwicke clearly loves exploring the angsty trials of adolescence. Her movies are a catalog of teens in transition from childhood to adulthood. Unfortunately, it seems that her two earliest films, Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown, were her best. Hardwicke's mistake here was to pick such a Twilight-like story -- gothic romance, love triangle, supernatural threat -- for her first post-Edward and Bella film. The cast is full of talented actors -- particularly Seyfried, Oldman, and Julie Christie as the grandmother -- but the result is still a combination of broody young lovers panting at each other while people all around them are killed.

It's doubtful that Hardwicke would expect audiences to heckle the characters, but that's exactly what's going to happen -- and in some ways it makes this predictable, overwrought horror-romance more enjoyable. Between the over-the-top performances, Fernandez and Irons' nostril-flaring looks of rage and jealousy, and the laughable climax, it's hard not to chuckle at unintentionally funny moments. Sure, there are some decent sweeping shots of the wintry, mountainous landscapes, but once the wolf starts talking, the movie feels like some bizarre, awful mash-up of Twilight and Narnia that will only be liked by young teens who crave a couple of cute boys to swoon over and some good kissing scenes. For the rest of us, it's just not enough.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of supernatural love stories. What makes them so attractive to teens? Do you think they portray a realistic view of romantic relationships? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding relationships.

  • Valerie tells Peter that she'd be willing to leave her town and family to be with him. Is that a good role model for teen relationships?

  • Did you find the violence in this movie scary? Why or why not? What's the impact of seeing violence in the media?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 11, 2011
DVD release date:June 14, 2011
Cast:Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas
Director:Catherine Hardwicke
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Thriller
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:violence and creature terror, and some sensuality

This review of Red Riding Hood was written by

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Teen, 13 years old Written byChinagirl123 April 24, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Good Movie Very different than original story

It was very different then the original "Little Red Riding Hood" story, but it was a pretty good movie. it was alot like twilight chosing between two guys and there was a lot of viliionce and one sex scene but besides that it was a good movie
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN April 2, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Dark and demented turn on a classic fairytale is intriguing but would've been better with a different director.

To start what I assure you will be another one of my extremely long (yet thorough) reviews, I have to say this: Within the first 15 minutes of the movie I could tell it was directed by Catherine Hardwicke; and to me that's not a good thing. I didn't like Twilight, and this had a Twilight-esque nature to it. Some of the lines and scenes were the same, as well as the fact that Billy Burke was in Twilight and this movie too. I didn't really feel the chemistry between Peter and Valerie at times. At points it just seemed like they were only together because they knew no one else liked their relationship. The sexual content went a bit too far for a PG-13 movie for my taste. (Not that I wasn't dying to be Amanda Seyfried when she had Shiloh Fernandez making out with her.) Now think of the more intimate scenes from my point of view in the theater. Try sitting next to your aunt, feeling your cheeks get warm, and failing miserably at looking like what's going on totally disgusts you when you know it doesn't. Both Shiloh and Max Irons (yeah Jeremy's son! Wow!) are of course gorgeous, every good movie needs a hot guy. Now, as far as violence goes, I imagined the werewolf attacks to be more... well, more I guess. Scratched victims are shown and what is supposed to be fresh wounds look more like scars they've had for years. The lack of blood bored me. When a character's hand is decapitated it looks sooooo fake too. I mean come on! Your town is repeatedly being attacked by a werewolf and there's barely any blood to prove it! I do love the whole dark and slightly demented feel to the film though. They really did well twisting the story of Red Riding Hood around to turn it into something teens on up would like to watch. When the DVD hits stores I will definitely get it. Now that I think about it, towards the end bits and pieces of Tristan and Isolde slipped in as well. Things like the boat scene and being engaged to someone else... Yeah, okay, I apologize for rambling, but I'm done now. If you're still reading this, and the only reason you'd probably still be reading is if you've read my other reviews (and love them) and know that I ramble but don't care anyway. I love that kind of dedication! Keep it up! Comments? Questions? Concerns? Email me: ogormanscommonsense at yahoo. :)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 15 years old Written bycgw April 2, 2011
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Twilight's new family member? Red Riding Hood

This is, like many others have said, a teen movie. Unfortunately, parents may not give a darn about it because of how similar it really is to Twilight (a movie I truly did NOT care for), the whole 'Oh I love this guy and want to be with him forever no matter what' plots are really getting redundant. The good thing I do like about this movie is that it proves a love can be pure but not exactly perfect. You may enjoy the never-ending love thing as well as the horror aspect but it's time for something new because this horror/love/comedy genre isn't really meant to be.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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