The good folk of Dagenham (checks notes)...sorry, Daggerhorn, have got a bit of a problem. Every month they leave a goat sacrifice out for the local marauding werewolf. But wolfie has acquired the taste for human flesh and goat is strictly off the lyncanthrope menu. Village beauty Valerie (Seyfried) is gutted when her sister is too (ie gutted) and the villagers call upon crazed werewolf hunter Father Soloman (Oldman) to track down the creepy beastie for the sake of their goat supplies if nothing else. But Valerie, she of the red hood of the title, has got other problems apart from slaughtered sisters and that pesky goat shortage. She’s got the hots for two local lads – the darkly brooding Peter (Fernandez) and moneybags Henry (who she’s due to marry). One of them may have a secret, too...and it involves going all furry when there’s a full moon about.
Director Catherine Hardwicke effectively defanged vampires when she launched the Twilight saga a few years back and she’s done much the same here in this insipid, lifeless fairy tale which rarely springs to life and, courtesy of some genuinely bargain basement CGI, features probably the least terrifying werewolf in the history of cinema. Hardwick’s much more concerned with her dull, gooey-eyed young stars but their who-loves-who predicament engenders little interest or enthusiasm because the script gives them little to work and requires them to do little more than pout at one another. Fortunately there’s no-one here as miserable as the Twilight series’ Bella but there’s no-one with the undoubted smouldering charisma and star quality of Robert Pattison either. Only Gary Oldman’s looney tunes turn as Soloman manages to bring the movie to occasional life, Julie Christie is criminally wasted as Valerie’s Grandmother (what big teeth she has) and despite the stabbings and gougings it’s a bloodless affair with no real sense of danger and absolutely no sense of excitement.
Red Riding Hood is stylish and slick but it’s a hollow and soulless experience. Undiscerning teens impatient for the next chapter of the Twilight saga might find some entertainment value in this anodyne affair but anyone expecting the dark, Gothic scares the story suggests would be advised to look anywhere else.