R / 88 min.
Action / Fantasy / Horror
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare
Director: Tommy Wirkola
It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard or seen the classic story of Hansel & Gretel by the Brothers Grimm. It’s the tale of two children, Hansel & Gretel, who wander off deep into the forest and stumble upon a cottage built entirely of candy and other sweets. They decide to go in and start eating whatever they could see. Then the witch appears, the witch that successfully lured the children into her abode. She captures the two, but in the end, they escape and defeat the witch by outwitting her.
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is basically the same story, but at the same time very different. The 2013 film, directed by Tommy Wirkola, is a grittier, darker reboot of the story that follows Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) on their Witch Hunting escapades. But how do they become Witch Hunters?
Well, the first couple of scenes in the movie are familiar to most. Hansel and Gretel find the candy cottage in the woods, get captured, and defeat the witch, just as the story goes. However, the story doesn’t stop there. Because of these events, they decide to hunt witches for a living, to rescue the children that they capture and abuse. It’s a twisted spin on the familiar tale that we knew as kids. Does the reboot provide an interesting story though? Unfortunately the answer is a no.
The story, most of the time, is predictable. Hansel and Gretel are now famous witch hunters that are summoned to a small village by the mayor to investigate the disappearance of eleven children. After some investigation, it turns out that the two witch hunters are up against the powerful dark witch Muriel (Famke Janssen). The two aren’t alone though because along the way, they enlist the help of Mina (Pihla Viitala), a women they rescued who was being accused of witchery, and Jackson (Bjorn Sundquist), a wannabe witch hunter.
Half of the time it was easy to see where the story was going. There are some strategically placed flashbacks in the beginning of the movie that pretty much reveal what the story is going to evolve into. As disappointing as this is, the story didn’t seem to be the main focus of the movie. Perhaps attention was placed elsewhere, like the ridiculous action that takes place in between.
The movie is an all-out blood and guts fest with the f-bomb sprinkled over it for good measure. The action sequences are borderline unbelievable and absolutely insane. People get crushed, blown-up, split into a million pieces, hit by trees, and basically everything else you can imagine. Hansel and Gretel are ruthless hunters, who seem to have matured a ton from the characters that most of us are familiar with. These two aren’t innocent children anymore.
In fact, there is nothing innocent about this movie. It’s a dark story, with a lot of dark action that takes place. The child abuse and the elements of rape that are introduced in the story might put a lot of people off. The witches are pretty brutal as well. However, the make-up department did a great job at making all of the witches awful to look at. They’re disgusting to say the least.
Hansel & Gretel: The Witch Hunters is a laughably ridiculous and dumb movie. It’s far from being good but it manages to keep you the slightest bit entertained by its crazy and relentless action. It’s a story that you just kinda have to go with in order to enjoy. But honestly, don’t see this movie is you are interested in a thoughtful story twist on the original fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel. All your getting is a movie about killing witches in the craziest ways possible.