"Why, Grandmother, What a Poor Script You Have!"
What You Need To Know:
Some of RED RIDING HOOD is creative and intriguing, but the weak writing results in a schizophrenic, poorly developed story. The religious climate is confused between pagan, superstitious, occult elements and a somewhat Christian element symbolized by crosses worn by the priests. However, the priests are either weak or murderous and corrupt. Also, the story is driven by lust, infidelity, lying, violence, debauchery, and revenge. Ultimately, the Anti-Christian content is what makes RED RIDING HOOD abhorrent.
(PaPaPa, OO, C, AbAbAb, B, VVV, SS, AA, MM) Very strong pagan worldview with the presence of dark occult magic and content, supernatural creatures, animal sacrifice, pagan burial scene moon-centered religion where, although the Christian church in the village is adorned with crucifixes, the villain is an evil, ruthless priest who wears a cross and hurts the innocent, plus some light moral elements; no foul language; very strong intense violence includes many villagers attacked by werewolf, two extended scenes with rampant killings, torture of prisoners, torture and murder of disabled child, and graphic scenes of dressing wounds; strong sexual content includes references to infidelity throughout and three scenes of heavy kissing; no nudity; two scenes of heavy alcohol use and drunkenness, once in a tavern and once in a hedonistic celebration; and, a negative portrayal of marriage and rebellion against family.
Very loosely based on the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood, this movie depicts a more “grown up” version that shares little with the original story.
The movie begins with beautiful footage of snowy mountains before settling upon the isolated woodland village where the story begins. Protagonist Valerie is in love with her bad-boy childhood sweetheart Peter, despite the fact she has been betrothed to the wealthy and noble Henry. Valerie and Peter make plans to run away together when Valerie’s sister is suddenly killed by the werewolf that has terrorized the village for two generations. The bereaved Valerie cancels her plans with Peter in order to be with her family for the funeral and the mourning period.
Although the villagers ritually appease the werewolf by offering animal sacrifice, the presence of the blood-red moon causes the wolf to take a human life. It’s only during this rare moon phase that the bite of a werewolf can turn the victim into a werewolf as well.
The men of the village rally together to seek revenge on the beast, but in the attempt, Henry’s father is killed. The village priest calls on Father Solomon, a famed werewolf hunter, whose personal experience has taught him that the wolf, who is human by day, could be anyone in the village – even a family member.
A thorough search is conducted for any evidence of the wolf’s human identity. Father Solomon and his team ruthlessly imprison, torture, humiliate, and even murder villagers in the process.
As the wolf’s attacks grow more frequent and more violent, an encounter reveals that Valerie and the wolf have a special connection, although she is still unaware of its human identity. She begins to suspect all those close to her, including her family, Henry and Peter.
In the midst of the terror, Henry catches Valerie and Peter kissing in a barn and realizes, despite his strong love for her, he can never make her love him. He releases her from her obligation to marry him.
When Father Solomon becomes aware of Valerie’s connection to the wolf, he realizes he can use her as bait to trap and kill it. Henry and Peter realize they must look past their rivalry to join hands to save Valerie from Father Solomon’s plan.
Although some of the artistic direction and cinematography in RED RIDING HOOD is creative and intriguing, the weak writing results in a schizophrenic, poorly developed story. The religious climate is confused between a pagan moon-religion with supernatural and superstitious elements and a somewhat Christian element symbolized by crosses worn by the priests. However, the priests are either weak or murderous and corrupt. Also, the story is driven by lust, infidelity, lying, violence, debauchery, and revenge. It thus inherits very little from the classic tale other than the red cloak Valerie wears.
The potential for a substantive retelling of this tale was great, but has not been accomplished in this version. Ultimately, though, the Anti-Christian content of the strong pagan worldview is what really makes RED RIDING HOOD abhorrent.