Red Riding Hood
by Adam Nayman and Michael Koresky
Every Monday, two Reverse Shotters wipe the weekend from their bleary eyes and engage in a postmortem on the multiplex trash (good or bad) they took in.
It would be accurate enough to say that Red Riding Hood suggests a book report on Bruno Bettelheim’s landmark psychoanalytic study of fairy tales The Uses of Enchantment by a student who was pressed for time and just skimmed the Wikipedia page. But in order to really convey the hallucinatory awfulness of this movie, you’d have to flesh out this hypothetical scenario a little further and say that the student suffered a severe head trauma on her way to reading the paper out loud to the class. With its unmotivated camera movements, erratic cutting, and supremely wobbly orchestration of parallel events, Catherine Hardwicke’s direction is the cinematic equivalent of a concussion.
Certainly somebody seems to have clonked Amanda Seyfried on the head prior to about half her scenes in Red Riding Hood. Faintly dazed at the best of times (like in Mean Girls), the actress looks even droopier than usual as Valerie, the proverbial babe in the woods whose beauty and virginity are irresistible lures for the lupine. When the Big Bad CGI Wolf lopes up to her and asks her to come away with him—I add that he does this telepathically—the actress’s stunned expression is like a mirror for the viewer: she can’t believe this is happening, either. Continue reading.