Her message may have been "love never dies" with her directing the first "Twilight" movie, but after being passed over for the sequels, it seems that Catherine Hardwicke's mantra is "day jobs never die..."
Straight off from the start, there is a level of recognition on so many different levels that you could be distracted from the actual movie itself whilst you try and count them off in your mind.
The mist-shrouded mountains covered in broody weather and dangerous trees seem to have been left over from the filming sets of Forks and if that wasn't enough, Bella's Dad (Billy Burke) appears here in the role of, wait for it, Dad to the plucky heroine who ends up being caught between two men and something not human... You do begin to wonder just abit whether Hardwicke has deliberately done certain things as a kind of "two fingers up" to the "Twilight" franchise producers.
But it's not all comparisons to that particular movie - infact the strongest resemblance is that of M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village." From the dark and dreary wooden houses hiding many secrets, through to the clanging bell of doom when an attack is either immanent or has occurred, it feels like one of these dreaded "re-imagining" attempts when the studio wants to kick-start a franchise up. They even have a backward boy in the village that suspicion falls upon once Oldham's scenery-chewing werewolf-killing priest arrives to apparently save the day. Either that or inject the "who could it be, this werewolf beast?" idea into every one's heads so that it makes an Agatha Christie novel look like a quick game of Guess Who.
Now it may seem the above is all negative, however "Red Riding Hood" is an enjoyable little movie and one that is far superior to the angst-heavy stories that plagued the first "Twilight" outings - the only lingering looks here are of "where were you during the full moon?" A tad long with a protracted ending, it still works, even if Hardwicke can't let the camera stay still for more than a second - watch out Tony Scott and Michael Bay!
UK release date: 15.04.11