Sarah Patterson, Angela Lansbury, David Warner. A creepy re-interpretation of Little Red Riding Hood," with the young heroine narrowly escaping hordes of hungry werewolves on the way to grandmother's house. 1985/color/95 min/R/widescreen.
The tangled forest is misty with mystery, the thatched cottages are cute and quaint, and the dashing rogues are devious charmers, but this revision of "Little Red Riding Hood" is not your usual fairy tale. In the troubled dreams of an adolescent girl in the hormonal rush of puberty, it becomes a veritable werewolf story with lush storybook imagery, gothic horror flourishes, and decidedly sexual implications. Director Neil Jordan, who collaborated with author Angela Carter in this 1985 adaptation of her story, applies a knowing intelligence to the bittersweet tale. The often startling transformation effects may appear primitive compared to modern movies, but the delight is in the dark imagination, dense textures, and fantastical wonders of this dream world. Angela Lansbury is the story-spinning granny and David Warner the understanding woodsman father, and watch for a devilish cameo by a sinister and seductive Terence Stamp. --Sean Axmaker