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Ending & The Wolf’s Identity Explained


Red Riding Hood
movie focuses on a love triangle and a werewolf mystery, adding teen drama to a classic tale.
The identity of the Big Bad Wolf is revealed to be Valerie’s father, who has a motive behind the killings.
The film’s deeper meanings explore loss of control, coming of age, evil, mistrust, and themes of sexuality and witchcraft.

Red Riding Hood adds teen drama elements to the classical horror myth, with a twist ending regarding who is the wolf in Red Riding Hood. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Red Riding Hood stars Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, and Max Irons as three young adults living in a village called Daggerhorn. The three are involved in a love triangle when a man-eating wolf threatens their home. Adapting the legend of Little Red Riding Hood, there are elements of classic werewolf tales coupled with elements from the folktale.

The movie changes things from the original story, focusing on who the wolf in Red Riding Hood is. The folktale focuses more on Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. Red Riding Hood adapts traditional elements of teen supernatural dramas like Twilight by creating a love triangle between a young woman and two men vying for her love and attention. Red Riding Hood also plays out a traditional-styled “whodunit” mystery that ramps up the fear and paranoia of the villagers, aided by the appearance of a witch hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) who comes to slay the beast.


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Red Riding Hood: The Big Bad Wolf’s Identity Explained

Who is the Big Bad Wolf?

Big Bad Wolf in Red Riding Hood.

The Red Riding Hood ending reveals Valerie’s father, Cesaire, is the wolf. This is a shocking twist, because the wolf kills Valerie’s sister, Lucie, among other murders in Daggerhorn. While it is revealed that Lucie is not Cesaire’s daughter, it adds a motive to Cesaire being the wolf, though this is not obvious. Red Riding Hood paints Cesaire’s drinking problem as caused by his extreme grief over losing his young daughter. Instead, he drinks to control his violent impulses.

Selected Red Riding Hood Cast

Amanda Seyfried


Virginia Madsen


Billy Burke


Julie Christie


Shiloh Fernandez


Max Irons

Henry Lazar

Gary Oldman

Father Solomon

Also, Valerie can’t hear the wolf speaking, and this clues Cesaire to the fact that Lucie isn’t his daughter, and why he kills her. In their final confrontation, he explains to Valerie that he means to choose the eldest to join him, so he can eventually take both of his children and leave to have a new family. However, when Lucie can’t communicate with him, he realizes she isn’t his biological daughter.

The main suspects are set up to be Grandmother, Henry (Max Irons), and Peter (Shiloh Fernandez).

This is also why he kills Adrien, Henry’s father. He is Lucie’s real father from his affair with Cesaire’s wife, Suzette (Virginia Madsen). Cesaire also slashes Suzette’s face in one encounter and murders Grandmother (Julie Christie). The werewolf’s identity is teased and leads audiences to believe many could be the wolf: the main suspects are set up to be Grandmother, Henry (Max Irons), and Peter (Shiloh Fernandez).

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What Happened To Valerie & Peter?

Is Peter The Next Big Bad Wolf?

Valerie in a promotional image from Red Riding Hood.

Valerie and Peter manage to slay the wolf; Valerie kills her father with Father Solomon’s severed hand, which has silver fingernails. However, Peter ends up wounded in the battle and bitten by the wolf. Father Solomon warns all the villagers of Daggerhorn that anyone bitten by the wolf during the blood moon will be cursed to be a wolf. This is part of Cesaire’s plan — he wishes to transfer his gift to his daughters, just as his father had passed it to him.

Though Valerie is torn between her betrothed, Henry, and Peter, whom she’d loved since childhood, the decision is made around the halfway point, when she returns the bracelet Henry gave her. Valerie and Peter’s relationship is doomed when Cesaire bites Peter. He will turn into a wolf, and there is no escaping it. While it means their relationship can’t continue, Valerie moves into her grandmother’s house and waits. The ending shows Peter returning.

Since Valerie can communicate with werewolves, they will always be able to have some larger contact.

This could mean he wants to bring her with him on the next blood moon to be together. Before they part, Peter promises Valerie that he will learn how to control his gift; he isn’t a genetic wolf, like Valerie’s father, so it would take some time for Peter to ensure her safety with the intensity of his new instincts. Since Valerie can communicate with werewolves, they will always be able to have some larger contact, even if they don’t continue a relationship.

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What The Wolf & Red Riding Hood’s Ending Really Means

The Deeper Meaning Of Red Riding Hood

Traditionally, werewolf mythology speaks to the animal nature present in humanity. It signifies a loss of control or even a loss of innocence. Other times, such as in movies like Ginger Snaps, it can mean a coming of age or coming into one’s sexuality, when a young person is turned into a werewolf and has to undergo a significant transformation. In Red Riding Hood, the wolf seems to represent true evil and the mistrust present in humanity.

As the villagers of Daggerhorn are first content to ignore Father Solomon’s warnings about the wolf being present, they eventually come face to face with the beast and then start to get paranoid. Suddenly, everyone is a suspect. When Valerie is revealed to be able to hear the wolf, she is also accused of witchcraft, which leads to her being masked and humiliated in the town square, then set out as bait for the wolf. This represents the era, which could be in the 1600s and 1700s around the Salem Witch Trials.

The townspeople assuming Valerie is evil because of her ability to hear the wolf and her red coat represents the era.

The backdrop of Valerie assuming the wolf is Grandmother, and the townspeople assuming Valerie is evil because of her ability to hear the wolf and her red coat represents the era. Also, Valerie is sexually active with Peter before they are wed and while she’s being considered for marriage by another, which points to more traditional themes held in werewolf movies, where sexuality being present is indicative of a wolf or some other evil. Though Red Riding Hood deviates from the original story and classic werewolf elements, they are in the movie’s underlying themes.

red riding hood

red riding hood

The 2011 fantasy movie Red Riding Hood is a live-action adaptation of the eponymous fairy tale. Amanda Seyfried stars as Valerie, who falls in love with woodcutter Peter (Shiloh Fernandez) and receives help from Father Solomon (Gary Oldman) to hunt down a deadly werewolf.

Director Catherine Hardwicke

Release Date March 11, 2011

Studio(s) StudioCanal

Distributor(s) Warner Bros. Pictures , StudioCanal

Writers Catherine Hardwicke

Runtime 102minutes

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