Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Red Riding Hood (2003)

Collecting dust in my shelf for a few years now I finally decided to unwrap it and give Red Riding Hood a chance. So what the hell is this? First of all, it's an Italian horror movie produced by legendary Greek exploitation producer Ovidio G. Assonitis, a man closely connected to the Italian film industry - even if some of his films are pure American. This is the last movie he produced, so far at least, right after the 1998 sleaze classic Sabrina Goes to Rome. No, that last thing was a joke. Not that he didn't produced Sabrina Goes to Rome, but it's not a sleaze classic - just good old pure and clean American family entertainment (directed by no one else than the great Tibor Takács!).

Susanna Satta plays twelve year old Jennifer, a girl that lives alone in Rome after being abandoned by her mother. Her grandmother Rose (Kathleen Archebald), an egocentrical actress, travels from New York to take Jennifer with her back to the US - but Jennifer has other plans. Her imaginary friend George is willing to help her - often involving violence. So whenever Jennifer sees someone that betrays someone, or her... or society, she and George sets out to get rid of those dirty human beings! And soon she must use George against her evil grandma...

I really don't want to bash Red Riding Hood, because underneath the stiff dialogue and way to pretentious atmosphere I sense a good film. It's not a pure horror movie and fades in and out of arty-fartyness. Stuff that would be better only to use in a quirky, festivals-only, short movie. But the horror/violence is well made and both gory, graphic and bloody. Nasty stabbing, a cut of hand, chopped of legs, a nail gun-murder etc. It's so mean-spirited that it feels like a whole different movie. Usually I like this kind of mixing genres, but it also takes that the script is perfect and I'm afraid it's not stellar in this case.

While the first half is very uneven the second is better - and darker. I like the girls crush on her hunky teacher and how she transforms herself with make-up to look older - and sluttier (this is a movie only the Italians could have made). Susanna Satta works better when she plays fucked-up, a lot more convincing than her cute schoolgirl-character that dominates the first half. Most of the supporting actors is quite good to, but suffers from either being forced to suffer poor dialogue or maybe non-existent directing. The visual part of the movie is the best and together with the gore and blood it's a fun and handsome little nonsense production - a fitting movie together with Assonitis other oddities: Amok Train, Madhouse, Stridulum, Super Stooges vs the Wonder Women and Piranha part 2: The Spawning!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh damn....I thought you did a review of Red Riding Hood (2011) bad.

So, Ovidio G. Assonitis was involved...well I had fond memories of Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981)...even though I prefer the first film by Joe Dante.