Today’s Prayer Focus

Red Riding Hood

MPA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPA) for violence and creature terror, and some sensuality.

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens Adults
Thriller Suspense Horror Drama
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 11, 2011 (wide—2,900+ theaters)
DVD: June 14, 2011
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros. Pictures

wolves in the Bible

arranged marriage—in exchange for money

death of sister



Featuring Amanda Seyfried—Valerie
Gary Oldman—Father Solomon
Virginia Madsen—Suzette
Max Irons—Henry
Billy Burke—Cesaire
Lukas Haas—Father Auguste
Shiloh Fernandez—Peter
Michael Shanks—Adrien Lazar
Julie Christie—Red’s Grandmother
See all »
Director Catherine Hardwicke—“The Nativity Story” (2006), “Twilight” (2008), “Lords of Dogtown,” “Thirteen
Producer Leonardo DiCaprio—producer
See all »
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures

“Believe the legend. Beware the wolf.”

In Catherine Hardwicke’s version of Red Riding Hood, melodrama and painfully long, silent expressions poses more screen time than any semblance of actual plot. In a remote village, tucked deep into the mountain forest, its inhabitants live in fear of a wolf which has plagued them for two decades. Believing themselves safe, if they offer up livestock sacrifices during a full moon, everyone lives under this cloud of terror.

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried), is a young girl in love with her childhood friend Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) while tragically betrothed to the blacksmith’s son Henry. Peter and Valerie make a plan to run away together, but just as they are about to leave the village bell rings to signify that someone has been killed by the wolf. When the two lovers learn that the victim is Valerie’s sister their plans unravel and the next few days change the course of each of their lives, (Valerie, Henry and Peter) in incredible ways…

I have typed and retyped this line over a dozen times. Nothing I can say does this film any sort of justice. Ethical issues aside, this movie is horrible. From the very first scenes the dialogue is spotty. There is zero character development before the film jumps off into melodrama so thick and syrupy that it makes daytime television look relaxed. If you are a fan of Twilight and the camerawork/imagery, then you will probably like the look of Red Riding Hood. If you enjoyed the abrupt nature of the soundtrack jaggedly dispersed throughout Twilight, then you will probably like that same style in this film. In fact, those two technical qualities considered, they could be the same film. The very small amount of storyline that Red Riding Hood has going for it is predictable and could likely be squeezed into a 30 minute television show and still be awful. The performances are unrealistic and disconnected. The only aspect of this entire movie that has any sort of chemistry is the scenes of sensual/sexual nature and even those aren’t good.

Violence: From the wolf-scratched dead body very near the beginning, there are scenes of a mob hunting the wolf, many bodies scattered throughout the film, as well as shooting, stabbing and torture scenes.

Sex/Nudity: While there is no nudity, the sexuality is the only constant theme throughout the film. Every scene that Valerie and Peter have together is either wrought with blatant sexual torture at not being able to touch each other, or very lust-driven exercises, complete with lots of touching and more.

If it weren’t for the sexual spark between the two main characters, there would be no connection between any of the characters, at all. Without any exaggeration, I can honestly say this is one of the worst films I have ever sat through. There is not anyone I to whom I could recommend this movie.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I don’t think the reviewer and I saw the same film. I quite enjoyed “Red Riding Hood.” It was beautifully photographed and visually stunning, the symbolism was evident, the cast was solid, the musical score was memorable, and I liked the characters. I did not guess who the wolf was until the very end. I appreciate that for once, they made the “other” young man vying for the heroine’s affection into an honorable boy, who showed his love for her in being willing to let her follow her heart, rather than falling into the cliche of “rich boy—evil, poor boy—good!”

My only complaint is the overly sensual scenes (nothing ultimately happens, but Peter and Valarie are very “familiar” with one another), which in addition to occasional gore (limbs being severed) make it inappropriate for kids. I was horrified to see girls as young as nine in the audience. My advice to parents is to see it first, because this is an adult adaptation of a fairy tale with mature themes and content; it’s very dark. But I think the demographic this film is aiming at (older teens and young adults) may enjoy it. I certainly did.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Charity Bishop, age 27 (USA)
Positive—I didn’t give a moral rating, because I watched this movie with Clearplay, so I don’t know what was cut out of it with the filter. That said, I loved it! It kept my attention the entire time, and I found it to be a very entertaining movie. Many of the characters were noble, and it kept me guessing.
My Ratings: Moral rating: none / Moviemaking quality: 5
Pam, age 44 (USA)
Positive—I’ve watched this movie a number of times. There should have been better character build and thorough plot. The two girls dancing was entirely overplayed. There was no obscene touching. They even did a patty-cake type thing at end. There was a moderate scene between Valerie and Peter, but again nothing was even really shown, apart from kissing that you see everyday. Like Twilight, I wish this movie would have been directed to a different audience. With this being said… you are going to see a movie with werewolf/fictional characters. It is what it is. Recommended for mature teen\young to mid adult.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jenn, age 23 (USA)


Negative—My husband and I saw this movie, or part of it, last night. I was horrified… by a number of things. First, the average age in the theater was about 12. I realize that teenagers can be loud and noisy, but the things that that they were yelling were absolutely horrible, especially at the sensual parts of the movie. It is sad to see how sexuality is plaguing our culture and infiltrating our minds, especially those of younger ages.

But that aside, I wanted to add one more thing that wasn’t mentioned in previous comments. There is a part of the movie were the village is “celebrating” the supposed killing of the wolf. The type of worldly celebration is typical for what you would expect—dark music, dancing, and drunkenness. However, this is where the movie ended for my husband and me.

We began getting a little uncomfortable when Valerie (Red Riding Hood) and her friend begin dancing a very sensual dance together to get the attention and evoke jealousy from her love Peter, who is dancing with another woman from sexually as well. Watching the 2 women dance together made me sick, I couldn’t even watch it. I said to my husband, “well there you go, Hollywood has officially turned a nursery rhyme into a promotion of homosexuality.” After the dancing was over, Valerie and Peter engage in a passionate argument over love, and this too turns into an extremely offensive scene of sexuality, kissing, and positions that finally made my husband and I get up and leave.

I completely regret spending our gift card on this movie… I should have read a review first. I hope this helps. This movie is just another reason why we can firmly claim that Jesus is coming back soon, based on the promises of Scripture. “When you see these things, look up, for your Redemption draws near.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
Angela, age 26 (USA)
Negative—This movie was as cheesy as the “Twilight” movie. Hairstyles and dialogue styles just didn’t match the time period. The background music during the “party” was entirely too modern, as well. When friends and family members were killed by the werewolf, there was little grief shown by anyone, as if it was no big deal. No emotional connections were truly established. The character of Red Riding Hood didn’t emotionally attach to anyone in her own family. It’s interesting that she was quick to desire the death of her family members, as she considered them to be werewolf suspects, but (***spoiler alert***) not her boyfriend. In the end, it’s as if she decided that it was acceptable if the wolf killed others as long, as he protected her!

The dancing scene was disgusting, hinting at lesbianism. The lack of morality was apparent throughout the film. And… of course… the only true “Christian” character in the movie turned out to be a holier-than-thou, abusive bad guy. Don’t waste a minute on this movie. I rented it for a dollar; I wish I could have my dollar back.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 1½
Susan, age 49 (USA)
Negative—This movie just didn’t work, on so many levels. One, the modern American accents didn’t fit in with the setting at all. Two, I was only slightly attached to one of the characters… and it wasn’t Peter or Valerie. Three, Gary Oldman and Julie Christie’s acting were the only performances that didn’t seem forced. Four, this film was trying way too hard to be Twilight. It felt like the director had literally told the two leads to act like Bella and Edward.

There was also a scene where the scar of a were-wolf bite is shown, and it looks exactly like the vampire bite on Bella’s arm.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed. As an alternative, I would recommend M. Knight Shyamalan’s “The Village.” It had many of the same elements as this film, but… unlike this one, it did everything right.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Negative—Hands-down, this is the most morally disappointing film I have EVER seen. I thought the moral quality was going to be average, until the ending! The ending scene basically ruined the whole movie, although there were some bad things that led up to it. I don’t know why I’ll go to the trouble of trying to spoil the ending—but just let me say that the happy ending is adultery and sinfully irresponsible living.

I think the moviemaking quality deserved much better reviews than it got (I’m a huge fan of Gary Oldman’s acting, but the storyline was also brilliantly written). There were some positive messages throughout, but those were all buried under the perverted ending. This could have been an amazing take on a classic story. It almost was. But, well, that just leads back to my first sentence.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Gabriel Mohler, age 25 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I found this movie was really quite good. I enjoyed it. I heard hardly any profanity, and it wasn’t terribly violent. There was some… “sensuality” however, but all you really see of that is intense making-out. This movie wasn’t scary, but my nine year old sister also saw it and was scared, mainly because of the wolf. Other than that, this movie was really good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Kaitlin, age 15 (USA)
Positive—My sister and I watched this movie together and thoroughly enjoyed it! It very, VERY clean and the special effects were absolutely amazing. There is one sexual scene, but it leaves pretty much everything to the imagination and shows almost nothing. I only caught one use of God’s name being profaned, except for the exception of one phrase, “I swear to God”. Other than that, we didn’t catch any other profanities. It was a clean, very well done and well thought out movie and my sister and I absolutely loved it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Alyssa, age 16 (Canada)
Comments from non-viewers
Negative—I read some of these comments and was completely surprised at how calloused and wrong our priorities as Christians have become. We are called to be set apart. I haven’t seen this movie, but if the comments on sensuality are right, I don’t see how you can be at peace as a Christian and be ok or even accept this movie. I don’t understand how we can just brush away things that are clearly wrong and of this world. We have a treasure in Christ that the world can never claim. How can we just throw that away for a couple hours of vile entertainment that fills our minds with trash. Is it really worth it to you?
Abby, age 14 (USA)