Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) Review
I had a lot of fun watching this film and am going to defend it as much as I can. The swift story, the fun fight choreography, the impressive practical effects and as much gore as possible put a smile on my face. I saw the trailer and this is what I wanted, a fun action-horror B movie. Granted the story and acting could be better and the opportunity to have some fantastic lines was wasted at times but I struggle to understand the majority of the negative reviews. I wonder if this film will ever be recognized as a cult film because I really liked it and so did a few others I have talked to, time will tell. It’s the second most enjoyable experience I have had in the cinema this year and I hope this continues into the spring season. Please leave your opinions in the comments as I am sure there will be some opposing views.
Abandoned by their father deep in a forest, young Hansel and Gretel enter a gingerbread house and are nabbed by the old witch who resides in it. The witch forces Hansel to continuously eat candy while making Gretel prepares the oven, but the siblings outsmart her and shove her into the fire. Throughout the fifteen years after the incident, Hansel and Gretel become famed bounty hunters dedicated to mercilessly exterminating witches. Their work is relatively easy because, for an unknown reason, they are immune to spells and curses. Hansel, however, is diabetic as a result of his ordeal and needs to take a regular shot of insulin every few hours. One day, in the town of Augsburg, Hansel and Gretel prevent Sheriff Berringer from executing Mina, a young woman accused of witchcraft. Mayor Englemann has hired the siblings to find and rescue several children abducted by witches.
Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended
Story: 75% Acting: 75% Characters: 75% Dialogue: 70%
Dark Fantasy/Action-Horror: 95% Style/Sound: 90% Visuals: 100%
The story is short and that’s what I wanted, because how much could somebody really extend the Hansel and Gretel tale. The story never slows or stalls in any part of the film and keeps your attention throughout, a rare talent to keep eyes on the screen. The acting was pretty good and I have no complaints, Jeremy and Gemma did a fun job in the roles and took to the fights with gusto. Peter Stormare was underused and that’s sad but Famke Janssen did a great job as the villain in this picture and a good sport for having to deal with all the gory makeup. There’s nothing wrong with the dialogue but there was so many opportunities for some hysterical lines that just never came to fruition, I really wanted Hansel to say “This is my BOOMSTICK” like five times.
The dark fantasy, action-horror, black comedy genres are a little tricky to put together but I think it pulls them off. The Grimm tales are dark and this film is at times very dark and graphic but it always pulled itself back to the campy fights and characters before it got rooted in a serious tone. If this film became serious in any way it just wouldn’t have worked. The action is fantastic and we get some gnarly looking witches to add some horror to the proceedings, the first scene of them as the witches prisoners it quite scary with them being so young and the witch being as cruel as I have seen them since the film ‘The Witches’. There’s a weird kind of style to the whole film, it’s darker than most but stays fun and ridiculous so as to keep you entertained. It’s why I think this film is an excellent B movie. It shouldn’t be taken lightly that Hans Zimmer did the score for this film and I found it suiting as a naive German directing it and it being filmed in Germany it might as well have a great German composer.
I was shocked when watching this film at how many of the visuals where done with practical effects. I am a big supporter of using practical over CGI because I find it more convincing and with lower budget films it looks far better. Did some research and apparently the vast majority was Practical effects, so imagine lots of wires and stunt guys. Even the troll they had was for the most part done with practical effects and looked pretty good. The witches all had very unique designs to the costumes and even physical appearance. Whilst the practical effects where great we also had some impressive yet subtle CGI used, for example the magic and broom flying. The reason I liked the CGI was how they applied this to the practical effects used as the hybrid of the two provided the best visuals. Loved the blood and gore, never thought I would see anything like this in a fairy tale but we did and it made it so much more fun. The guy exploding was a funny one.
Must Watch Trailer:
The best reviews I found would be these “Made in Germany, this raucous adventure merrily refuses to follow the usual Hollywood route of blanding-down a fairy tale for the lowest common denominator (see both Snow White movies last year)” Rich Cline. “Gore hounds will relish the sliced appendages count but – with a sharper script – you can’t help thinking this could really have cast a spell” Tim Evans. “Yes, it’s utter trash. But if, like me, you’ve spent weeks sitting through overlong, award-baiting dramas, this gleefully cheesy treat should hit the spot” Andy Lea. “Much like the candy that lures in Hansel and Gretel, Wirkola’s fairy tale transformation is a tasty indulgence – admittedly not for everybody, but a treat for those with the proper sweet tooth” Matt Donato. “I counted at least six occasions when Renner could’ve led with, “This … is my BOOM STICK” Pete Vonder Haar.
My favourite scene would have to be any of the fights, the film is full of them and they are all entertaining. The choreography is fun and ridiculous it’s hard not to love it, Hansel and Gretel getting into fist fights with witches I am so happy. B movie gold granted not for everyone but suits me nicely.