Red Riding Hood

Dir: James (Giacomo) Cimini
Star: Susan Satta, Kathleen Archebald, Robert Purvis, Marc Fiorini

A truly grim fairy tale: imagine what'd happen if Red Riding Hood decided to team up with the wolf and go on a killing spree? Set in modern Rome, that's pretty much what happens here, as Jennifer (Satta) is abandoned by her mother and left to her own, very insane, devices - specifically, punishing those she perceives as sinners, whether their crime be theft or adultery. However, the arrival of grandmother (Archebald), the suspicions of a local beggar, and Jennifer's growing crush on her tutor (Purvis), all threaten to put a damper on her happy life of nightly murder, accompanied by the mysterious figure of "George".

This is the kind of Italian horror film I like: not grounded in the real world and without genuine explanation (particularly the ending), it feels like a particularly freaky dream, short on logic, and long on surreal imagery. Satta is either great or awful as Jennifer. I'm not sure which, since her performance is utterly fake, although that may be the entire point. As you'd expect, there are some great deaths - I'm torn between the nailgun and the wine bottle as my favourite - even if the plotting is unsubtle; when a key character mentions a deadly allergy to peanuts, no prizes for guessing this'll be used later. While not quite the most twisted version of the story [see Freeway, with Kiefer Sutherland as the wolf and Reese Witherspoon as the heroine], there's still enough imagination here to satisfy.

[This film will be released on February 22nd in the US. For more information, visit MTI's website.]

February 2005

What big teeth you have...
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