Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood


Reviewed by: Leanne McGrath

David Kaplan turns the Grimm Brothers’ classic fairytale from children’s fantasy to adult thriller by injecting risqué sexual overtones and dark humour.

This visually stunning short film is heavily inspired by German Expressionist classics such as The Cabinet Of Dr Caligari and Nosferatu.

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Shot in black and white, the lighting and use of shadow is pristine, while the sets are characters’ movements are heavily exaggerated.

Our big bad wolf is clearly a man dressed up, Russian ballet dancer Timour Bourtasenkov, who pirouettes his way through a dark, claustrophobic forest to the captivating melody of Debussy’s Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun.

Red is played by a young but wonderfully expressive Christina Ricci. She perfectly portrays innocence teamed with a provocative sexiness. She is also a strong, wily girl who does not need a huntsman to save her from the wolf’s clutches. Like the original, the wolf kills Red’s gran, dresses in her nightgown and hides in her bed until the girl arrives. But in Kaplan’s version, the wolf serves granny up for dinner to Red, who devours the flesh despite being warned what it is by the cat.

The wolf then orders her to strip and get into bed beside her. We can only assume Red knows it is the wolf and is playing him at his own game rather than contemplate the bizarre scenario that she is allowing her granny to seduce her.

Sadly, the dialogue in the bed scene almost ruins the film. In contrast with the flawless visuals, we have puerile, almost spoof chat about “making kaka” and “pinching a big loaf”. It’s all the more odd spoken in Quentin Crisp’s upper-class tones.

That aside, Little Red Riding Hood is an exceptional short film – sinister, stylized and sexually-charged. The numerous awards bestowed on it are richly deserved.

Reviewed on: 09 Jul 2009
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A black comedy version of the classic fairytale.
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Director: David Kaplan

Writer: David Kaplan

Starring: Christina Ricci, Timour Bourtasenkov, Evelyn Solann, Quentin Crisp

Year: 1997

Runtime: 12 minutes

Country: US


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