Unless you like your movies full of blood and gore and not much else, then Tommy Wirkola’s Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters may not be the best choice for you next time you’re going through the cinema listings, deciding what to watch.
This movie – as you may have guessed from the title – picks up on the lives of Hansel and Gretel, the sweet little children of fairy tale lore who were held hostage by a witch in a house made of candy, from whom they eventually escaped. The film retains little of the fairytale we know, focusing instead on the now grown-up Hansel and Gretel as they take revenge for their childhood experience by witch-hunting for a living.
As a consequence of being force-fed candy by the witch as a child, Hansel has been left with an insulin dependency following his ordeal but this doesn’t stop both he and Gretel being excellent witch hunters. In a helpful addition to the plot, they are also immune to any spells or curses which obviously aids their witch-hunting ability significantly.
The duo are employed by the mayor of the town of Augsburg to rescue a number of children who have been abducted by witches, but they’re in competition with the local sheriff who has hired trackers to do the same job. It turns out that the children have been abducted for the Blood Moon ritual, which requires the sacrifice of a boy and girl born from each month of the year by a local coven of witches. However, don’t worry too much about following the plot; the whole film is just a vehicle for an hour and a half of as much brutal and graphic violence as could be fitted into the time available.
Hansel and Gretel has received little praise, and given the thinness of the plot, abundance of gratuitous violence and the dubious comedic value, viewers will probably see why. Of course, if you enjoy films with a little novelty and which don’t require much thinking, then this is likely to be the film for you. For disposable entertainment which might even give you a couple of laughs then it’s perfect. However, if you’re looking for something with a bit more depth and complexity in your cinematic viewing, this may be a film to stay away from.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, doesn’t pretend to take itself too seriously, but it is debatable whether it achieves the comedy ‘spoof’ value it would like, or simply comes across as tedious and immature. When going through the choice of new film releases on offer at the cinema right now, you’ll have to be a particular fan of horror films laden with violence, gore and little else to opt for this one!
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