— Posted by Alyssa
Director: Matthew Bright
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland
This movie is the definition of a hidden gem. It’s so clever, insanely entertaining, and funny, it’s a wonder to me that more people don’t know about it.
After her mother and stepfather are arrested for prostitution and violating parole, respectively, poorly-educated Vanessa (Witherspoon) is on the run from her parole officer and a system which is determined to put her back in foster care. What Vanessa lacks in book smarts, she makes up for in street smarts. Armed with a red basket containing the essentials (including a handgun), Vanessa leaves behind her darling fiancée and her home. She is able to navigate the mean streets on her way to her grandmother’s house. That is until she hitches a ride with a charming and sadistic serial killer/pedophile with the name of Bob Wolverton (Sutherland). However, Bob quickly discovers he’s messed with the wrong girl when Vanessa takes control of the situation and leaves him for dead. Dealing with the consequences of her actions and facing jail time as an adult, Vanessa must outrun the law, the vengefulness of Bob, and her own inner demons to be able to make it to her destination.
The story of Little Red Riding Hood has never been so twisted and off-the-wall. But it’s also never been better. There’s so much to like about this oddball movie from the clever premise to the likable performance by Reese Witherspoon, in her first leading role. Vanessa is the epitome of white trash, but she’s so smart, independent, and feisty that it’s hard not to root for her. Sutherland is also fantastic as the “big bad wolf” since he’s completely sadistic but it’s understandable how Vanessa fell under his manipulative spell. Oliver Stone is a producer on the film and Danny Elfman conducted the music (yes, he knows a world outside of Tim Burton). This is a unique, visually-irresistable thrill ride that also effortlessly uses dark humor.