In a village on the edge of a dark forest, Valerie (Seyfried) lives with her loving parents (Burke and Madsen), who have arranged her marriage to the cute, soulful and wealthy blacksmith Henry (Irons). But Valerie's in love with the swarthy, soulful and poor woodcutter Peter (Fernandez). Valerie's big-eyed grandmother (Christie) offers a listening ear. But the village's strained relationship with a local werewolf flares into violence at the arrival of both a blood-red moon and the fanatical werewolf-hunter Solomon (Oldman). Could the werewolf be one of the villagers?
Does a wolf do his business in the deep, dark woods? Director Hardwick and writer Johnson load the film with so many crimson-red herrings that it could be absolutely anyone, aside from the most obvious suspect of course. There are also several amusing fairy tale references. And as things ramp up into a hysterical War on Werewolfism, Hardwick seems much more interested in heaving bosoms and ripped bodices, as Valerie dithers between her two pouty, supermodel suitors.
Yes, it's utterly ridiculous, not really hanging together by even the loosest sense of internal logic. And all of the romance is so achingly yearning that we almost lose the will to live in between the frenetic action sequences and iffy special effects. So it's a good thing that we have Oldman on hand to chomp mercilessly on the scenery, twirling and shouting and spluttering, as if all of the cast members' energy was being channelled through him alone.
That said, Seyfried gives the film a solid centre, making up for the over-emoting vacuum of Fernandez and Irons. Hardwick designs the film to over-the-top perfection, with fire-glowing cinematography, sumptuously colour-coded costumes and high-end hair and makeup that defy the laws of nature. It's not subtle or clever, and by the end it's so dim-witted that we feel like we've been banging our heads against a wall for 100 minutes. It's also oddly enjoyable for all the wrong reasons.
Run time: 100 mins
In Theaters: Friday 11th March 2011
Box Office USA: $37.7M
Box Office Worldwide: $89.2M
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Production compaines: Warner Bros., Appian Way, Random Films
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 10%
Fresh: 20 Rotten: 173
IMDB: 5.4 / 10
Director: Catherine Hardwicke
Producer: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Alex Mace, Julie Yorn
Screenwriter: David Leslie Johnson
Starring: Amanda Seyfried as Valerie, Gary Oldman as Father Soloman, Billy Burke as Cesaire, Shiloh Fernandez as Peter, Max Irons as Henry, Julie Christie as Grandmother, Lukas Haas as Father August, Virginia Madsen as Suzette, Shauna Kain as Roxanne, Michael Hogan as The Reeve, Adrian Holmes as Captain, Cole Heppell as Claude, Christine Willes as Madame Lazar, Michael Shanks as Adrien Lazar, Kacey Rohl as Prudence
Also starring: Leonardo Dicaprio
As with his Formula One documentary Senna, filmmaker Asaf Kapadia cleverly uses archival footage to...
This declining franchise really needed a jolt to the head, but the producers disappointingly opt...
Resisting the temptation to capitalise on the camp value of these characters, Channing Tatum and...
Wacky enough to make us smile but never laugh out loud, this screwball comedy harks...
A relentless onslaught of violent action, this movie is notable mainly because there's a woman...
First-time feature filmmaker John Maclean takes a strikingly original approach to the Western, creating a...
Despite this being a film about Sherlock Holmes, the fact that it's not much of...
Both shameless and shamelessly entertaining, this relentlessly boyish movie carries on exactly as the TV...