Written by: Gabriel Campisi
Directed by: Jared Cohn
Distributed by: The Asylum
Runtime: 88 minutes (1 hour 28 minutes)
Certificate: 15 (UK)
When a film is coming out from Hollywood with a big name attached to it such as 2016’s Red Riding Hood starring Amanda Seyfried, then the low-budget film companies will try to feed off of that success by bringing out films made with haste and poor budget often with a similar title to draw in viewers. These straight-to-DVD films are called Mockbusters.
In this article, I will be reviewing 2016’s Little Dead Rotting Hood which as previously mentioned, was created to align its release time with Red Riding Hood’s success.
When a small town’s secret guardian of the forest takes her own life, the wolves of the forest attack!
The local police force thinks they have it under control for a minute but they soon discover that there is more to these wolves than meets the eye. Furthermore, their world is flipped on its side when they discover a zombified teenager dressed in red, with sharp claws running through the forest rescuing folk from the wolves.
Secrets are revealed, and the Sheriff is ready to take on the werewolves and their Den Mother before they can murder the entire town!
The concept of this whole film is pretty cool. There’s a legacy of guardians starting with Samantha’s grandmother who passes on her supernatural powers to Sam when she kills herself, and the concept of having the townsfolk fighting back the wolves with the police really lets you grasp that sense of community and how important the town is to the characters.
The issue with these kinds of concepts though is that they wind up only being used in low-budget flicks that end up lacking the true passion for the story. The editing and pacing are all rushed and mixed up so the film winds up lacking that true sense of awe that we should get from a concept like this. Instead, watching Little Dead Rotting Hood was a bit of a drag.
The connections to any iteration of Little Red Riding Hood are next to none. We have a grandma who lives alone in the woods, and she passes on a red shawl which isn’t even worn until the ending scenes of the film. Of course, there are the werewolves but that’s a moot point.
For the most part, Little Dead Rotting Hood has some fantastic visuals and great practical effects including the makeup department for the torn flesh effects.
My favourite aspect is the use of real-life wolves for the close-up visuals to really give you that sense of danger from the beasts of the woods. The worst is watching them get killed because obviously, they’re the real four-legged lovable kinds of wolf, but then the other best thing about it is of course it’s a film and no animals were harmed in the making of said film.
The Den Mother of the film turns into a big low-budget CGI werewolf and the design is pretty reminiscent of the Scorpion King effects in The Mummy Returns or perhaps even a PS2 character model. The large humanoid wolf form is hairless and looks bad in almost every aspect. I’d have much preferred to see a practical effects costume, even if it looked like a cheesy Halloween store pickup.
Cast and Characters:
The acting in this, contrary to most low-budget films, wasn’t too bad. Eric Balfour as Sheriff Adam is the real protagonist of the film and the stand-out performance.
Romeo Miller portrayed a good ‘concerned boyfriend’ role right up until things get more into the build-up of Samantha learning about her powers. However, the film sort of shifts as a whole from that point so he did the best he could with what he was given.
Bianca A. Santos who portrays Samantha a.k.a Little Dead Rotting Hood portrayed a really cool character that was not given enough exploration, explanation and certainly not enough screen time.
The saddest part for me about this film is that I feel like you could have done the whole story without Santos’ character and it wouldn’t feel much different. Her character barely plays a role despite the film supposedly being about her and the legacy of her family. The concept was cool but the execution was rushed and made poorly.
I wouldn’t say the film was god-awful but it wasn’t good either. It’s watchable at best. If you’re going to make a low-budget werewolf film though, I would recommend practical effects over CGI any day!