I expected the movie to be dark and gory and yet I was still inclined to go – I typically avoid scary movies like cats avoid water.
A SUMMARY THAT DOESN’T GIVE AWAY THE MOVIE
The premise of the movie is based on the Grimm’s fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. A pair of siblings, a boy and a girl, stumble on a house made of candy nestled in the thick of the woods. Upon eating some of the candy right off of the structure the inhabitant, a witch, captures them. She fattens the children up intending to eat, but, instead, the witch falls into the roaring fire herself. Morbid story for children isn’t it? Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters begins here and henceforth sets Hansel and Gretel’s life’s work as witch hunters.
Several years later the viewer meets the adult Hansel and Gretel in a troubled small town. They are hired by the town mayor to track down 11 missing children.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was all about maximum gore and comedic thrill with a big helping of sexy. As a pansy when it comes to scary movies I found myself unfazed which means this movie was of the scary as comedy genre; even though the setting was perpetually dark and the witches donned gross, creepy faces, the abundance of sarcastic remarks from Hansel and Gretel, the shameless use of gorgeous actors for the stardom siblings, and the comedic presentation of the gore the movie was left no more scary than Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
The entertainment value in the film was wrapped up in the action, quick camera cuts, talented costume designers, and quick, gory wit. Every moment was action-packed with only a handful of quiet moments. The intention in camera choices was clearly all about capturing that action and the intensity. Then there were also these brilliant costume designs, especially on the witches. At one point in the movie I actually turned to my mom and said “someone sure had fun with the costumes huh?” The wardrobe was a sort of Lord of the Rings orcs meets Disney’s witches – the faces were grotesque with grey pallor, excess wrinkles and scars, and covered in a variety of nasty sores. I’m not one to appreciate or enjoy buckets of gore to laugh and point at but I definitely could tell Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters‘ screenwriters were hunting for that audience.
Though I found the movie entertaining it’s plot was shallow, character development was nonexistent, and I took offense to a particular exchange. The premise of taking the childhood story of Hansel and Gretel and growing it into adulthood with an intriguing profession was brilliant. However, I could tell that was about the end of their storytelling concern. From that point on all the writing choices seemed to be based around producing as much action, sex appeal and gore as possible to entertain the very core of all that is sinful – this film didn’t just want the fans of horror or thrillers, they also wanted the fans of fantasy and sexy. Because of that choice there also was not a shred of character development. The acting even only served to produce cool stunts and quick sarcasm. Emotional color was absent, not even the sexual scene with Hansel and Mina, the briefly tearful moment with Gretel, or the scene with Mina’s death possessed any gripping feelings. The last shortcoming of this film was a simple, but acute cutting remark made by Muriel when we first meet her. A search party of hardy men fall prey to Muriel and with the last live traveler mumbling “oh god” before her she says, “not even your god comes here.” As a Christian I was affronted because I knew the writer explicitly included that remark to snuff faith and because I’m all too well aware that God certainly can, and does, rid the world of darkness all the time.
The point of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was quick and hard entertainment. It would be good for anyone interested in dark fairy tales, thrillers, and gore but not necessarily those longing for a scary or a horror film. I won’t say not to see it because only seeing it satiated my curiosity as a fairy tale, Disney nut, but if you do, guard your heart against the darkness because no one needs that filth in their system, even if it’s made out to be comedy instead of evil.
Image courtesy of ACESHOWBIZ