“The wolf is someone in this village.”
The Scoop: 2011 PG-13, directed by Catherine Hardwicke, and starring Amanda Seyfried, Gary Oldman, Shiloh Fernandez, and Max Irons.
Tagline: Believe the legend. Beware the wolf.
Summary Capsule: A young woman is caught in a love triangle between a brooding town loner and the son of a wealthy blacksmith. She also finds herself mysteriously linked to the werewolf that terrorizes her village.
Courtney’s Rating: Of course normal teenaged girls enjoy movies with incestuous, bestial and cannibalistic undertones. Why should that shock you?
Courtney’s Review: For
better or for worse, Twilight is changing Hollywood and the movies marketed towards young people. In theatres right now, you can see I Am Number Four, or “Twilight meets Michael Bay;” Beastly, or “Twilight meets Disney;” and Red Riding Hood, or ”Twilight meets the Brothers Grimm.”
I haven’t seen the former two, nor do I ever plan to. They just look incredibly boring. But I knew I had to see Hood from the moment I watched the first trailer. It was just so… silly. Little Red Riding Hood reimagined as a sexy adolescent love triangle, from the director of the first -and most hilarious- Twilight movie? How could that not fail in the most wonderful way possible?
And from that perspective, this movie does not let down. It is awesomely awful! My friend and I spent the majority of the film with either our jaws open in disbelief or our hands clamped over our mouths, trying not to laugh too loudly on the off-chance that someone else in the audience was riveted by what was transpiring on screen.
The most telling bit of evidence that this is a horrible film is the messiness of the plot itself. There are really two different movies going on here, a supernatural whodunit and a romance, but it just doesn’t know how to balance them. On the mystery side of things, you have the village of Daggerhorn, located in medieval Europe, despite the modern American accents. This village has been terrorized by a werewolf for decades. Each month on the full moon, the villagers offer a pig or goat as a sacrifice so that the wolf won’t kill any humans. But peace is broken when a girl, Lucy, is found dead the morning after a full moon (she looks awfully pretty and in-one-piece-y for having been mauled to death.) The villagers learn from world-traveling werewolf hunter Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) that in human form, the wolf could be any one of them. He also explains that it’s Very Special Red Moon Week, and anyone bitten during this time will also become a werewolf. Things get even more complicated when Lucy’s younger sister Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) discovers she has some sort of link to the wolf that could put her in grave danger.
Now that’s a pretty good premise on paper. It’s not hugely original, but it’s got mystery, paranoia, suspense and a little intrigue. But of course it’s bogged down by what should have been a subplot, but somehow took over as the main story – the angsty love triangle. Valerie is in love with brooding bad-boy type Peter (Shiloh Fernandez, and oh, look what you did there with his name, Movie,) but her parents have promised her to the wealthy Henry (Max Irons, son of Jeremy.) Will she marry Henry or run away with Peter? Omigawd, I care! …No, I don’t.
The werewolf mystery unfortunately never goes anywhere interesting. I don’t want to spoil the horrific reveal, but I will say this: eeewww. There’s also this weird thing with Solomon where I think there’s supposed to be an anti-religious message, but it keeps turning around and contradicting itself. What are you trying to say here, Movie? I’m confused by your refusal to adhere to your clichéd message!
This paragraph is spoiler-y, if you care.
The love plot is handled just terribly, especially since Henry is so obviously superior to Peter in every way, and Valerie just can’t see it. Peter has no personality, other than broody; Henry, who is honestly the only well-written character in the movie, is smart, sweet, artistic, creative, self-loathing, and sacrificing. There’s one scene in which Valerie and Peter begin to, ah, “roll in ze hay,” and it has as much spark as a wet match; in a later scene, Henry lifts Valerie’s skirt to get a knife she hid in her boot, and though it’s subtle it’s genuinely sensual. Valerie and Peter are supposed to be madly in love, but it never really looks like they’re in anything more than lust. There are real moments where you could see her falling for Henry, and it clearly would have made for a half-satisfying ending if she chose him. And if I may be shallow for a moment, Henry is both wealthier and hotter. There is literally NO reason he should have any competition from that dead fish Peter!
The acting is, in a word, horrid. I don’t know what possessed Oldman. He’s a great character actor but always seems to ham it up as villains, and the hamminess here is hysterically ineffective. He also speaks with an odd accent which sounds like a combination of Russian, Italian and Welsh. Perhaps it’s meant to be indicative of his character’s worldliness, but it comes off as idiotic. Seyfried is not given a lot to work with, but at the very least her sunny-sweet demeanor makes her far more believable as a girl worth fighting for than Kristen Stewart’s moody Bella. Fernandez is horrible; if he’s not brooding, he’s pouting like Kiera Knightley. Irons attempts to do more than be pretty, but there’s not much else for him to do. Billy Burke and Virginia Madsen seem to be going through the motions as Valerie’s parents. Julie Christie as Grandmother steals the movie; al, she had to do was be a competent actor.
To the film’s credit, the cinematography is beautiful. The thorny, towering black trees look gorgeous against the snowy background, especially so with Valerie’s bold red riding hood thrown into the mix. The contemporary-ish clothes actually work well with the tone. But the film ultimately proves to reflect its characters – pretty, but shallow.
In the end, I’ll have to insist that this was, for all the wrong reasons, a fantastic movie experience. If it’s great laughs and mean-spirited fun you’re looking for, I can’t recommend Hood highly enough. It’s hilarity must be spread among the world! I can’t wait to find it in the $5 bin at Wal-Mart. It’ll be worth every penny.
- Hilarious scenes that make this travesty worth the ticket price:
- Anytime that one villager fanboys Father Solomon
- Henry’s mother telling Valerie why he’s in love with her
- Valerie and Roxanne’s faux-lesbian dance to make Peter jealous
- The wolf killing villagers by slapping them
- Valerie’s first encounter with the wolf
- Roxanne’s attempt to bribe Father Solomon
- Valerie and Roxanne’s friend telling Valerie off
- Valerie’s fever dream
- The entire climax. Just… all of it.
Father Solomon: The wolf is someone in this village.
Valerie: What do we do now? I’d do anything to be with you.
Madame Lazar: You’re the pretty one.
Father Solomon: A man bitten is a man cursed.
Valerie: Human eyes… Brown…
If you liked this movie, try these:
- The Company of Wolves
- Sleepy Hollow