Monday, October 14, 2013

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters

(2013)***1/2

Hansel & Gretel, lost in the woods, imprisoned by a witch in a gumdrop house, push the witch into the fire and escape. That’s the fairy tale. This story begins a couple decades later, when Hansel & Gretel, now grown-up, have taken their childhood trauma, and turned it into a career – killing witches. The title is kind of a misnomer, because there is very little actual hunting. It should’ve been called Hansel & Gretel: foul-mouthed witch fighters. That pretty much sums it up.


I went into this one really expecting to hate it. It has 15% on rotten tomatoes, and looked dumb in the previews. I was pleasantly surprised. That’s not to say this is a good movie, it isn’t. However, the make-up and special effects are fantastic. Given the jokey tone of this film, it would’ve been tempting to really ham up the different looks for the witches. Instead, each and every witch (there are about 20 different witches in the film, each with a unique look) is disturbing to look at. Very grisly. So, visually, I rate this very high.

However, the dialogue is just atrocious.  What was kind of a nice horror/action blend reaches a level of camp not seen since Batman asked Robin for shark repellant while dangling from a helicopter in the old TV show.  They went with contemporary, anachronistic dialogue, that is funny the first 30 seconds and then painful for the rest. Examples – Gretel’s first line as she storms into a witch hanging, “Leaver her alone you f---in hillbillies!” or Hansel’s “Who the f--- is Edward”, or the young country boy – “I’m such a huge fan of you guys!” None of it fits. By the end of the movie, I was convinced that the movie would’ve been better if it had been filmed in a foreign language and then translated through subtitles. Actually, that’s probably why this movie did better overseas.

7 comments:

Octopunk said...

Nicely dissected! I believe in Jeremy Renner, so I wanted this to be good. Sounds like it's not completely devoid of game. Twenty witches is good math.

AC said...

does sound fun but the dialogue would be too large of a detractor for me.

Catfreeek said...

I'm really enjoying your reviews this year Trevor. I was curious about this one, there is a Japanese Hansel & Gretel that is supposed to be much better, it was made first.

JPX said...

Ugh, everything about your review suggests that I would hate this movie. Nothing makes me more crazy than "modern" dialogue in something that is supposed to have taken place long ago. I'm curious about the different witches, however. Good review!

Johnny Sweatpants said...

So were there any houses made out of candy in the movie? I always wanted to live in a house made of candy.

The actual fairy tale would make for a terrifying horror movie if it was done right. What's scarier than a cannibal witch?

DCD said...

Great review, kind of a shame about the dialogue, sounded promising otherwise!

Trevor said...

Thanks Catfreek - I appreciate the compliment.
There are houses made out of candy. The movie begins with the hansel & Gretel backstory where the arrive at a gingerbread house dripping with frosting. The opening sequence is actually pretty cool, as we see teh witch torture young Hansel by hording himself on candy. It's very disturbing.

And yeah, i may have rated this half star too high because the dialogue is distracting throughout, and Jeremy Renner & Gemma Arterton are well aware that they're slumming it here.