Vanessa Lutz is a nearly illiterate, poor, and troubled California teenager with a really awful back story which includes all kinds of abuse and criminal behavior. After her mother and stepfather (also very sketchy and tainted) are arrested, she decides to escape the thought of foster home life and strikes out across I-5 to the home of her grandma, whom she hopes will help her get a far better life in this sick, twisted, and really snazzy take on Little Red Riding Hood.
This is one of the more depraved and messed up movies I've ever seen, but it's actually quite enjoyable, done really well, and makes for good watching once you realize that it is clearly a VERY tongue-in-cheek satire. I mean if Siskel and Ebert can give it two thumbs up, then that lets you know right there this movie must be doing something right.
What makes it all work are the performances and the tone. Tone can be a really tough thing to get right, especially when you blend the lurid with a dark sense of humor, but Matthew Bright pulls it off pretty nicely here. The performances are quite over the top, but you can tell the actors are having a lot of fun, and Reese Witherspoon really shines as Vanessa. Kiefer Sutherland is fantastic as the menacing Bob Wolverton, and they are joined by all sorts of notable names such as Brooke Shields, Dan Hedaya, Brittany Murphy, Amanda Plummer, and Conchatta Ferrell among others. These are all wildly colorful and interesting characters, and I just love how the film makes it hard for the audience to choose who to root for at times.
The music is quite twisted and cool, the film definitely has the most unique take on a classic, and it succeeds in getting a point across while pleasing exploitation fans. So, if you have an open-mind and want to see something that is really screwed up but still has merit, then definitely give this a look..