In Rotkappchen: The Blood of Red Riding Hood, writer/director Harry Sparks weaves a chilling tale of murder, lust, and teen angst in this modern retelling of the classic fairy tale. The story follows Rose (Stefanie Geils), a teenager sent from Germany to live with her grandmother in America. Upon arrival at her new school she meets Summer (Sativa Verte), a sassy coed with a biting wit, Summer’s dorky younger brother, David (Chris O’Brocki), and Nick (Phil Gibson), the hunky Big Man On Campus, who is quite literally the big bad wolf -- a werewolf, that is -- with a thirst for blood and virgins. Nick takes an immediate liking to the angelic Rose, much to the dismay of his girlfriend, Bridgette (Nicole Leigh Vuono), who terrorizes the poor girl in fits of rage and jealousy. As Rose struggles to settle into her new life, she retreats into the dark fantasy world of her imagination, where she sees herself as Little Red Riding Hood and her enemies as walking personifications of the evil hell-bent on destroying her.
Rotkappchen lures you in with the promise of an interesting take on a familiar story, but the audience quickly realizes they’re not quite getting what they bargained for. Sparks does a decent job of setting up the story, intertwining the alienation of a young girl in a foreign land with the terror consuming a quiet town, but the major misstep is in the execution. The muddled narrative is bogged down by the addition of a convoluted backstory about Grandma’s encounter with Nick the werewolf some decades prior and a subplot involving the exploration of teenage sexuality that goes nowhere and adds nothing to the overall plot. Likewise, Rose never seems to evolve beyond her role as victim and instead bounces back and forth between reality and her fantasy world, neither of which really keeps her safe from harm. Of course, it doesn’t help that Sparks is a little trigger-happy with the editing button, cutting from scene to scene with no apparent destination and piecing together random shots of violence and gratuitous sex, all of which are disorienting and make the story much more confusing then necessary.
The film’s only strong point is in the cinematography. Sparks sets the tone through the use of black-and-white photography with intermittent objects in red; only Rose’s fantasies -– her safe haven -– earn the right to be in color. Alas, this is the one element that makes Rotkappchen worth watching, and the rest is an incoherent mess. Films based on the Little Red Riding Hood premise are nothing new (Matthew Bright did it with Freeway), but Sparks fails in his attempt and the result is nothing more than a mishmash of clichéd horror and softcore porn.
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- Released: 2009
- Rating: NR
- Review: In Rotkappchen: The Blood of Red Riding Hood, writer/director Harry Sparks weaves a chilling tale of murder, lust, and teen angst in this modern retelling of the classic fairy tale. The story follows Rose (Stefanie Geils), a teenager sent from Germany to l… (more)