‘Red Riding Hood’ (2011) – A Deceptive and Dark Fairy Tale


Following the release of the official plot synopsis for this big-screen movie, no illustration forms about what this adaptation of the classic Grimm fable is like. It wasn’t until its trailer that we learn to what lengths Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke would take the Red Riding Hood fairy tale.

‘Red Riding Hood’ (2011) - A Deceptive and Dark Fairy Tale. Amanda Seyfried stars in this fantasy fairy tale. Text © Rissi JC

Red Riding Hood (2011) Film Review

Since childhood, Valerie is taught the dangers of a stranger, and the importance of being a “good girl.” Even though she tries, her burgeoning friendship with a boy in the woods pushes her to break the rules. Some ten years later, Valerie’s (Amanda Seyfried) life is mundane. The small village she resides in is anything but satisfying, and her parents (Virginia Madsen, Billy Burke) pressure her to marry the successful Henry (Max Irons). It isn’t that there is anything wrong with Henry except for Valerie’s disinterest. Instead she peruses the outsider and orphaned woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez); her childhood sweetheart.

The two lovers meet in secret under the protection of the woods that surround the village. Together they make plans to run away, but fate has other ideas. Things change when Valerie’s elder sister is dies at the hand of a creature. Until now, villagers have held a tentative truce with this wolf through animal sacrifices. Now the residents fear what they cannot see.

I’ll wait for you… – Red Riding Hood

‘Red Riding Hood’ (2011) - A Deceptive and Dark Fairy Tale. Amanda Seyfried stars in this fantasy fairy tale. Text © Rissi JC

It doesn’t take all that astute an observation to realize this is fairy tale has undertones that are more sinister than the movie touches on. Good or bad, most of these are passed over either because writers chose not to explore them or for fear of the MPAA rating. As I think back on the original concept, Little Red Riding Hood isn’t exactly prime children’s reading material, so a darker approach fits.

All this movie does is capitalize on a sinister (aka chilling) idea. The chills change because of the grown-up cast (for a grown-up audience), a love triangle and a werewolf villain. Never did I think I’d have such a close connection to the Twilight franchise. But since I am a sucker for fairy tales, and a fan of Seyfried’s work, this became irresistible. Its cast is quite impressive – nearly everyone exhibits hints of mystery in their persona; it’s always up in the air as to who you should trust. The writers conceal the wolf’s identity well, although it isn’t for lack of making obvious choices targets.

Red Riding Hood

 The movie starts as a beautiful story like any fictionalized tale might, and its cinematography is gorgeous. As with everything I “endorse,” this is not for everyone. Some will find this entertaining, but it’s “different.” The entire movie is morally skewed, but this isn’t because of the plot. Instead it’s the characters who have some ideas we question, plus the ending is about as unromantic as any I’ve seen. If you’re a fanatic of the Twilight series, then you’ll likely to enjoy Catherine’s latest young adult movie. It’s a dark fairy tale that somehow still manages some touching snapshots amidst the otherwise dreary tale.

A dark and deceptive #fairytale. ‘Red Riding Hood’ (2011) is nothing like the childhood fable you remember. #FWArchives #Movies #Fantasy Click To Tweet

CONTENT: In attempts to make Peter jealous, Valerie suggestively dances with a female. Peter and Valerie have intimate relations [later scenes show the pair, obviously naked lovemaking]. In order to ensure the safety of her brother, one village girl offers herself as barter. There’s an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. The wolf is a terrifying creature who kills a dozen people in the course of the film [all of which are shot with little blood and the camera cuts away just before impact; there are some implications of torture also, a girl is thought a witch]. One man collects the head of a wolf as a prize of sorts, assuming it is the werewolf. The film is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Because I am not of the Twilight craze, or werewolfs and the like….this movie totally did not appeal to me. I am even honest enough to admit that the commercials freaked me out a bit.

    I much prefer how "Once Upon a Time" is handling my fairy tales. I can only do creepy for so long.

  2. This is sooo my kind of movie. I blame it on seven seasons of Buffy, six seasons of Supernatural, and about thirteen years of Dracula. ;)

    I loved it, even if it didn't end how I would have wished, and suffered from occasional stilted acting. It was GORGEOUS to look at, and sometimes that's good enough.

  3. Ella – I am not "into" that whole scene either, but… I really like Amanda Seyfried and fairy-tales, so…

    I actually watched most of this most at, like, ten o' clock at night – and all by my shelf! ;D I don't remember it being all that scary. I am not a fan of horror or creepy movies, either, but then I like movies with hints of mystery driving them.

    Oooh! I cannot wait to check out "Once Upon a Time" – it looks like such fun! Glad to hear you like it, too, Ella – now I'll know who to ask when I want spoilers. ;D

    Charity – this is gorgeous to look at. (The camerawork and cinematography is lovely.) I'd watch this one again (and was going to prior to Femnista but didn't get around to it), but it wasn't my most favorite flick, either. Basically, yes, Red Riding Hood was quite entertaining. (Even with my "issues" about the whole Valerie/Peter/Henry thing. ;D)

    I liked the concept even if it was carried a bit too far for my tastes. The ending is my one big complaint – and honestly, I'd have rather seen Valerie alone than how it ended.

    Cubette – you're welcome. =)

  4. I want to see this although my sister told me who the werewolf was. I am easily freaked out, so I may have to watch it with somebody (I usually watch chick flicks when I am by myself, and I could only watch little snippets of Wuthering Heights because it is distressing-not scary!). I have not watched the Twilight movies althought I enjoy the books. The movies look pretty pathetic, but I am sure they could still scare me.

  5. Livia – you should check this one out. It isn't my favorite movie, but I did enjoy it and could definitely see myself renting it again if nothing else. (The werewolf's identity is actually really well masked – in movies, that is surprising today.)

    As I mentioned to Ella, I don't remember this being all that "creepy," but it does have the potential to appear that way to some viewers. Some ten years ago as a young girl, I would have been totally "creeped" out by it (me and scary/mysterious movies really didn't get along back then).

    Chick flicks or rom-coms are my kind of movies – I like happy stuff not movies that are going to remind me that life is challenging. =)

    C.C. – cool! Thanks for that. I usually find that TV shows progressively get better week-to-week or even season-to-season. Most of the shows I watch are 100 times stronger than their premiere season. If I don't enjoy "Once Upon a Time," I'll be surprised. =)

  6. Amanda Seyfried is a great actress – I've enjoyed each of her roles. There have been a couple I've "ignored" but for the most part, she has starred in movies I've been interested in seeing.

    "Red Riding Hood" isn't my favorite with her, but it was quite entertaining. And "Dear John" is just a beautiful movie.

  7. I saw this over the summer while I was at the beach and I really liked it too! I have to say that I've seen Twilight and it is so much like it as far as camera shots and style I think. If I can remember correctly the beginning of this movie was a wide shot of the forest which was kinda dark just like in the Twilight movie. Catherine's style is definitely all over this movie.

    XOXO~ Renee

  8. Just from previews, speculation and reviews, I can guess that "Red Riding Hood" would be something similar to Catherine's work on "Twilight." I'm just not really into the whole vampire-werewolf scene, but I did quite like this movie. As a matter of fact I was going to rent it again a couple of weeks ago and never got around to it. Oh, well! Maybe some other time. =)

  9. I don't blame you!

    This one is very… "different," but yet, I surprised myself by liking it even somewhat. Again, this is one I need to re-watch and haven't gotten around to it.

    One of these days I'll have to rent it again because I do think it deserves a second look. =)

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