As long as they can remember, the inhabitants of Daggerhorn have been living with a werewolf at their doorstep. A situation that imposes some restrictions on them but that they have learned to deal with. Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) lives a rather normal life in Daggerhorn. She’s in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), though her family, especially her mother (Virginia Madsen), wants her to marry the rich Henry (Max Irons). So Valerie and Peter decide to run away. But before they’re able to go through with their plan, Valerie’s sister is killed by the werewolf, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a werewolf-hunting priest, shows up and things change quickly.
Red Riding Hood delivers mostly what it promises: uber-camp. The only problem is that its three leads in the love triangle (Seyfried, Fernandez, Irons) actually take this film seriously. I mean, not even the set designer did – but these three do and it is a little weird. But then Gary Oldman makes up for it all.
If I hadn’t suspected before what kind of film Red Riding Hood would be, it would have been clear within the first few minutes, when young Valerie traipses through the fakest wood that ever faked. Seriously, this forest is only matched in its fakeness by the village and the villager’s summery-dresscode-despite-the-fact-that-it’s-snowing. But even in these fairy tale surroundings mixed with bad CGI, the forest stands out: it seems like the image of a forest somebody would have after never having seen one in real life, but since they had to built one for this movie set, they got a vague Japanese description of what a forest does look like and used google translator to understand it.
But since this wood was actually the visual equivalent of scenery chewing, it went very well with Gary Oldman who gives this film his all: his performance is basically the epitome of camp. It is glorious. Next to him, Julie Christie and Billy Burke pale in their campness, though they do give it a good whirl.
Which makes it even sadder that apparently Max Irons, Amanda Seyfried and Shiloh Fernandez were not informed about the nature of this film. They actually try to make their characters work. They go seriously about their work. I’m sure they had late night discussions about their characters’ motivations and deep insights into their psychology. They even show – gasp – talent (especially Seyfried and Irons). It’s just the wrong film to do all of this.
Still, the movie is fun, despite a few headdesk moments (the forced “my what big ears you have” inclusion, for example) and despite the fact that Valerie decides for the wrong guy (imo).
Summarising: Take it as the campfest it is and just go with it.