Brother, it’s not so grim

Red Riding Hood is cheesy but engaging

Red Riding Hood
Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.
Rated 3.0

It’s official: Red Riding Hood is the new poster child for that old saying about watching a car crash that you can’t turn away from. Replace the cars with medieval carriages and add Amanda Seyfried and an ensemble steering it all off the road with bad acting. Before you call me a cynic, notice the smiling popcorn box. I liked this film. Yes, the acting was subpar, and the script was sub-subpar, but I never got bored. It’s a bad film, but it’s a good experience.

It should be no surprise that Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke is responsible for my latest guilty pleasure. Her newest melodrama revamps the traditional fairytale into a dark, teenage fantasy. Red Riding Hood (Seyfried) still has to protect herself (and her village) on the way to grandmother’s house, but this time, it’s a werewolf she’s battling. Yep, just like Jacob from Twilight.

All that aside, using the half-wolf, half-human character is one of the strongest assets of the narrative. Once the village discovers that the murderous wolf is one of their own citizens, the story turns into a suspenseful, if campy whodunit. And that’s why I put up with the forced dialogue and mediocre delivery; I needed to know who the damn wolf was! Unlike everything else about the film, this mystery wasn’t transparent. I theorized a new suspect every five minutes, and was never right. Watch it from this angle, and you won’t find yourself asking, “When will this end?”

Supporting roles from seasoned actors Julie Christie and Gary Oldman reminded me that, even the presence of a couple of the most respected actors in the profession probably won’t save the reputation this film is bound to get. But if you appreciate the “it’s so bad, it’s good” theory, this fairytale will deliver your happy ending.