The story of Little Red Riding Hood has its origins in 14th-century European folk tales. In a time when dangerous and dark forests were a way of life, stories such as this kept children safely close to home at night. The story and others like it also served as warnings to young women to be careful of men — the term “wolf” surviving to this day to describe a predatory male. Moving from the wolf to the werewolf, as the film Red Riding Hood does, we have a monster that can be destroyed if it falls in love with a woman.
This is the story at the heart of the thriller Red Riding Hood from director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight). Here, a vicious wolf attack leaves a village in fear — a fear made all the more potent when a werewolf hunter (Gary Oldman) tells the village the monster is one of them, living in hiding until the next full moon. Not sure if a friend is also a killer, everyone is on edge, particularly Valerie (Amanda Seyfried). Valerie is to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons) though she is in love with Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), a poor woodcutter whose behavior makes her think he could be the wolf. And, she soon discovers, she has an unusual connection to the beast.
“The love triangle makes it more interesting because Valerie doesn’t know who to trust,” Seyfried says. “She loves Peter, but she is suddenly noticing little nuances about him that make her start to wonder. Could the love of her life be the werewolf? And she is also developing a closer relationship with Henry and sees what a good man he is, but questions arise about him as well. She has to figure out if what she wants is what she needs.”
“The story plays into our fears that someone close is not really who they appear to be,” says producer Jennifer Davisson Killoran. “To me, the big, bad wolf represents the anxiety of not knowing who you’re really dealing with.” And this, of course, is at the heart of every relationship — from medieval village marriages to the big-city weddings of the present day.
“Red Riding Hood” is now showing on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
© 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.