Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters reimagines the classic fairy tale, and follows the candy swiping siblings into adulthood. The movie stars Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, and Famke Janssen.
In the beginning we see Hansel and Gretel’s father taking them deep into the woods and leaving them there on their own. They never see their parents again. Soon they start walking and come upon a little cottage made of candy. They knock but receive no answer, so they start breaking off bits of the house and eating it. The door magically opens. The story follows through faithful to the fairy tale, except a good deal more graphic.
We are then transported several years later to when the siblings are all grown up, and have turned witch-hunting into a full time job. They come to a town called Augsburg where many children have gone missing, abducted by witches. Upon their arrival Hansel (Renner) and Gretel (Arterton) proceed to save a woman (Pihla Vitala) from being burnt as a witch. This sets them up as enemies with the town’s sheriff. The town’s mayor hired them, however, so there is nothing he can do to them.
While searching for the children the siblings meet up with the Grand witch, Muriel (Janssen), who reveals much about their past. Muriel and her other witch companions have something big planned; something that will take place on the blood moon, just two days away. Hansel and Gretel soon learn that they are a part of these plans, and must save not only the children of the town, but themselves as well.
The movie is very fast paced with a lot of action. The plot is very simple, with a little bit of a twist, but this is not a cerebral film. This is more of a shoot ‘em up, kill the bad guys, save the innocents type of film. It is a lot of fun, though.
The actors are wonderful in this film. Renner and Arterton play the bounty hunters perfectly, and also show great care to each other with occasional quips, “I hate you” that a true brother and sister would act like around each other. Janssen is a little off her game, with an accent that comes and goes (it even sounds Southern at one point), but pulls off being the frightening witch. The addition of Ben (Thomas Mann) a young man who wants to be a witch hunter when he grows up, gives a little levity to the film.
The special effects are impressive. Great care was taken with the makeup for each of the witches in the film. The film makers did not want any of the witches to look alike, so you have quite the menagerie; tall witches, short witches, witches with no legs, some sexy, some old, some with spikes coming from their bodies. It is very gory, however. Witches do not die (or kill) neatly. Body explosions, beheadings, burnings; if you cannot stand gore, then I do not recommend this film to you. However if you can handle the “ick” factor, you will have a good time with “Hansel and Gretel”.
This film is rated R for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language. It also has an attempted rape scene, so I would think strongly before showing this to your underage children.
I purchased this DVD with my own funds