Valerie is a teenage girl living in a medieval village which maintains an uneasy alliance with a werewolf that lives in the surrounding woods. She has long been in love with the village woodcutter, Peter, while her mother has arranged for her to marry the more affluent Henry. Even worse, it seems even the werewolf might have designs on her ... could this creature be one of the local residents?
Firstly we will notice that each of the dashing young male leads sport an incredible amount of hair product while the heroine has perfect makeup at all times, which is especially strange given the era, but this does at least assure us from the very beginning that we aren't exactly dealing with a gritty, warts-and-all historical fantasy here. It is intended as diverting Twilight-style teen fodder, plain and simple, so the question from the beginning is whether or not it suceeds on that level.
Predictably, perhaps, things improve drastically once Gary Oldman appears on screen, playing a religious interpretation of the traditional Woodsman character - a zealous priest devoted to tracking down and killing the beast at whatever cost. This is a role that Oldman seems to greatly enjoy sinking his teeth into. The presence of Julie Ritchie and Michael Hogan also add some much-needed experience and dramatic weight to the cast.
At the centre of the movie is a traditional "who is the werewolf" mystery, which is quite well-executed with many decent efforts at misdirection. This means that the reveal is suitably surprising and pretty much changes the whole nature of the narrative, to such an extent that you might feel inclined to go back and watch it again.
All in all, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie after all the negative criticism it has received. For myself, I suppose it is refreshing to see a movie that is actually willing to dig its claws into a small amount of historical lycanthropic mythology, as opposed to relying entirely on that which has been selected and created by Hollywood over the past seventy years. Given the quality of werewolf movies in general, and how sparse they have become in the last few years, this is one that I would recommend without much hesitation to fans of the genre.
Company of Wolves remains the best interpretation of the Red Riding Hood legend, and arguably the best werewolf movie ever made. However, this new Red Riding Hood is not without its charms, even if it is bogged down by a few very obvious missteps.
Sargent Komodo, mission report
The mission was a grade A cluster-fuck. Total screw up, completely unsalvageable. Crusoe couldn't take it, he stuck his service pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger five minutes in. Brains and blood and bits of bone all over me. In my hair. In my mouth. Didn't notice Rodriguez was down until I realized he had lost control of his bowls in his death throes and I was ankle deep in his sewage.
When the enemy pulled out the CGI derpwolves I knew it was to late, we'd already lost. I had to pull my boys out or I would have lost the whole squad. It wasn't as bad as Operation: Sparklepires versus Pedowolves, but it was damn close.
You want my suggestion, sir? Nuke it. Nuke the whole God Damn thing. Just pull all of our boys back from the front-lines and drop a nuclear powered SCREW YOU! on their whole damn operation. The writer, the director, the fangirls...everything.
I can't...I just can't take it anymore.
This movie both fascinated and disappointed me. As a werewolf lover I couldn't believe all the wolf lore and stories they incorporated into it. There's "Peter and the wolf", "The three little pigs", and even the ending from "the seven little kids and the wolf". it was scary, sensual and intriguing BUT it was too original. it had way too much originality and not enough fable. The acting was good but I was a bit annoyed between the "a-la-wilight" love triangle. it hardly helped the story. To ME it should not have been a key point. I actually did expect better. which brings me to the wolf: Now it is my personal opinion that although a quadrupled werewolf is good a Bi-pedal werewolf is much MUCH better as it portrays a bigger sense of fear, not to mention that CGI werewolves like the shapeshifting dogs...er "wolves" in twilight are NOT that convincing and tend to make the viewer wince. I really do like this movie but it IS not one of my favorites. as a movie it is good as a werewolf film its a bit lackluster and not as scary as it was advertised.
Gary Oldman always kicks ass! He did a great job as the "Hunter".
The overall storyline of this film is ok. I say "ok" because it is not terrible nor is it outstanding. The premise for a werewolf or a giant wolf in this case stalking a village makes sense and the reactions of the villagers is pretty believable. The flaws here are simple though. Nobody in the 1800's had mousse or hair gel ha ha! Another flaw was the whole love triangle with Amanda Seyfried and two of the male villagers. It was just kind of hokie!
Although the wolf was for the most part done with CGI, it did not look too bad. Normally I hate CGI but this one passed my expectations.
The film did a bit too dangerously close to some sort of "Twilight" romance theme at times and with me that is a big "no no".
Overall this movie was an ok one time watch. I don't think I'll bother watching it again unless a lot of time has passed.
Once again, Gary Oldman makes this film better. Without him it would have been a huge flop.
By the way dear administrator The part where the werewolf's paw was cut to reveal a human hand WAS actually referenced in another movie, coincidentally the Company of Wolves. Rosalee's father and the village menfolk go into the woods to kill a wolf, the father chops off the paw and takes it as a trophy but finds at home that the paw has reverted to a man's hand. Rosalee is intrigued while her mother is scared, She tries to touch it only to have her father throw it in the fire.
This movie is surprisingly not bad. At its heart it is a whodunnit with some solid acting being dragged down by some bad acting. Specifically, the love triangle participants, while attractive, can't act very well while Gary Oldman, and Julie Christie help make it feel a little more real. A love triangle isn't such a bad thing for a horror movie, but this one is executed in teen romance style that feels like it was wedged into the script and reduces the credibility of an otherwise pretty compelling story. Overall, good entertainment and immersive atmosphere, if a little bit tempered by its awkward pandering to the Paranormal Teen Romance crowd (this is actually a genre of literature at Barnes and Noble!). I would only recommend it to werewolf fans.
P.S. I liked the werewolf.
Father Solomon, the character played by Gary Oldman, is easily the most interesting thing about this movie. In one of his first scenes he recounts the tale of how he discovered that his wife was a werewolf. He was out hunting such a beast, and he managed to cut off one of its paws. When he returned home, he found (to his horror) that his wife was missing a hand, now having only a bloody stump in its place. What is more, the paw he chopped off had now morphed into a woman's hand.
There are several variations on this legend told across many European countries. I believe this may be the first time I have seen it referenced in a werewolf movie, though I could be wrong about that. This legend establishes, among other things, that the werewolves in this universe return to human form after death. We also learn that they cannot come out in wolf form during daylight, and they cannot stand on holy ground. They can be harmed by silver weapons, which are especially effective if they have been blessed.
Incidentally, it's refreshing to see the religious connotations of lycanthropy explored in a movie. We see it all the time in vampire stories, and yet the church put many more people to death who were accused of being werewolves. There is much more history to draw upon here.
Another interesting element of lore in this movie is that werewolves can only pass only lycanthropy during the blood moon, an event which occurs once every thirteen years when Mars converges with the moon for a period of one week.
Finally, the CG werewolf is another of the more obvious missteps, though it did not look half as bad as some of the CG critters in some of the other films we have seen recently.