Talk us through it
Five mobsters are relaxing after a meal with coffee and cigars. One of the five, the Narrator, starts retelling the story of Red Riding Hood as he believes it was intended, you know prior to being cleaned up and having a happy ending added for children's consumption. The Narrator expands on his theory that the story is a parable about the importance of sex education much to the amazement of his cronies.
Ready to see what happens to a fairytale in the wrong hands?
Reviewbr> "All I'm saying is that some people read too much into a story like this, and I don't want to be one of those people..." - The Narrator
It seems you can't get away from fairytales when you journey the dark paths of horror, one immediately calls to mind the movies In the Company of Wolves and Bedtime Stories for example. With Big Bad Wolves kiwi Director Rajneel Singh adds the Grimm Brothers tale of Little Red Riding Hood to the parthenon of diverse interruptions horror film makers have made of traditional fairy tales. Seems in the hands of dark genre Directors nothing is sacred and Singh is definitely lifting the bar with his rather novel interpretation of what the Grimm Bros may have had in mind when they originally wrote down the story. Let's see if Singh keeps on the path or heads out into the far more interesting dark woods surrounding it.
Singh's script, from a short story by Chris Kerr, is simple a demonstration in how to write a short film. It mixes humour, quite a bit of philosophy about morality, and the requisite horror elements, all in a tightly woven 13 minutes of at times insane visuals. Interestingly during the week the topic of "rape" in terms of inclusion in a horror narrative was raised on the Southern Horror Writers email list. Singh shows how to handle the concept in a movie without going down the exploitation path, see Rob Zombie's Director's cut of the remake of Halloween for a comparison. The Director/Writer doesn't waste a single word in getting his concept across and shows how to tie down a script so that it's tighter than a fish's bum.
Singh handles both visual aspects of his movie well, Big Bad Wolves not only covers an after dinner conversation between mobsters but also spends it's time in the dark forests of the Grimm fairy tale world. Surprisingly, considering this is shot in New Zealand, the mobsters actually do seem authentic if only in comparison to numerous Hollywood mafia epics. Each of the five after dinner participants is well defined with the audience having no problems separating the characters. The banter between the mobsters is a highlight of the movie, with differing levels of appreciation for what a metaphor is, or for that matter how Freud might interpret cigar smoking. Singh keeps the here and now sterile with nothing to distract from his five after dinner mobsters, while going for realistic looking settings for his fairy tale world to add that faint hint of surrealism to proceedings. Admittedly there's only three locations in the land of far far away and one of those is a forest path, but I for one was appreciating the effort to drag me into the fable being told.
Singh is arresting with his visuals and you may need a second viewing to actually fully appreciate the narrative he's laying down for us.
I guess the major issue facing a choice on whether or not to catch up with Big Bad Wolves is how the rape scene, crucial to proceedings, is handled. Singh does go with a slight hint of titillation, actress Brooke Peterson does get her gear off for the scene and the sharp eyed will note boobs, but doesn't go over the top with full frontals. The actual rape itself is coy enough to not upset most viewers, it's more an innocence lost thing than a brutal assault. Though we do finally get to see the wolf in sheep's clothing during the scene.
In a touch of share genius Singh has the alternative reality of Little Red Riding Hood reflecting the narrative being told in the restaurant. So you really are meant to take that aspect as a visualisation of a verbal tale. At one stage one of the mobster wonders if the wood cutter will enter the story, queue a buff looking wood cutter entering grandmother's house in the nick of time. Surprisingly, and ladies hold onto your linen, our hero is half naked and clearly doesn't waste his time at the gym. The Narrator quickly informs his listeners that the wood cutter was originally inserted into the story to make it "kid friendly" and doesn't have a walk in role in his version, queue the wood cutter exiting stage left. The Director also owes me a new keyboard as I splattered up coffee over my current one during the scene where he whacked in the Grimm Bros. Actually no pun intended there for the easily offended.
Brooke Petersen (Little Red Riding Hood) does a sterling job as the na´ve girl entering womanhood who is in danger due to an unfit mother not imparting a sex education. Would that have helped? Mark Williams (The Narrator) carries great swaths of the film and is an excellent casting choice. Gary Stalker (Bruno), Otis Frizzell (Steve), David Stott (Marlon), and Russell Kirby (Franko) make for believable gangsters. While Steven A. Davis (The Wolf/Prince Charming) is effectively off the wall as the villain. A good solid cast overall.
Thomas Goss adds an excellent soundtrack that superbly captures Singh's visuals. Ranging from traditional movie movements, through fairytale lightness, and into dark overtures Goss captures what we are seeing on the screen.
Big Bad Wolves is available for your viewing pleasure here. Please note the short is not "work safe" with an advisory on language and a sex scene. Further details are available at the official movie site
ScaryMinds Rates this short as ...br> br> There are some slight audio issues in one scene, the bedroom, but viewers may be distracted and not notice. One of the best shorts ever to have come out of New Zealand.