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.

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters - Banner

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%

Total: 83%

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters - Poster

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.

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters - Hansel and Gretel arrive at town

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.

Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters - Conjoined Witches

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.

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

36 responses to “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013) Review”

  1. The Focused Filmographer says :

    I agree. this was what I wanted and it was a fun watch! Great review. Good stuff to know about the practical effects. It really did make it better.

    i even liked the “reality” of Hansel’s diabetes.


  2. sati says :

    Nice review! I like the actors involved but the trailers remind me of Brothers Grimm which was just such a wasted opportunity. Still, if it’s indeed fun I may catch it on DVD.


  3. Fogs' Movie Reviews says :

    Yeah, I’m with you Vinnie. I actually liked this one quite a bit more than I expected. They just put out a fun, bloody, spatterfest. 😀 I definitely enjoyed it!


  4. Wordschat says :

    I’ll check the times and try to fit this in after work this week. Didn’t see it is not a negative unless its because you were swayed by reviews. I’ll hop on broomstick and check it out. Cheers Tim.


  5. Emma says :

    The critics are ripping this apart.
    I enjoyed it. The opening scene was scary, the credits were very cool, the witch costumes and makeup were awesome. Enjoyable fluff is what I would call this film.The dialogue and one liners could have been better, but it was entertaining.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Thank you! You get me. That opening scene was really good, felt like proper horror. Loved the visuals and I just found it really fun to watch. I think it will be cult in a few years, then we can say “Told you so!” to everyone 😀


  6. Wesley Butler says :

    This year’s movies seem to have a “fairy-tale” theme of the year, don’t they? I’m glad you enjoyed this movie. I want to see it soon. That, and the Oz, the Great and Powerful.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      If Oz gets good reviews I will see it, but i am not too interested. Going to see Jack because it was done by Singer, but I liked this film for a quality that the other will not possess, silly B movie fun 😀


  7. markmc2012 says :

    Sounds interesting enough to me.


  8. Last Road Reviews says :

    Excellent write up this is one of those films where a part of me has no desire to see it, but yet also kind of interested. I will end up seeing at some point. Most likely cable airing


  9. Mark Hobin says :

    I managed to avoid this. Your review gives me hope, but after what I suffered watching Jack the Giant Slayer, I doubt I will watch this any time soon.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      I wouldn’t say they were the same type of film at all. This is shorter, lower budget, and no CGI to roll our eyes at 😀

      Gotta have the right attitude going into it though 😀


  10. Mr Rumsey says :

    I do aim to see this one when it’s available to rent – it looks like it could be pretty entertaining if approached with the right attitude. Nice review 🙂


  11. CMrok93 says :

    Good review Tim. It’s okay, but it leaves your mind as quick as the credits begin to roll.


  12. MikesFilmTalk says :

    Great review mate, you’ve actually almost sold me on this one, just by writing the magic words – Famke Janssen! It’s now on my list. I tweeted and stumbled ya dude! 😀


  13. le0pard13 says :

    Given how much negative reviews this one picked up, you’ve got me curious about the film now. I will take a gander once it’s out on disk, Tim.


  14. ruth says :

    That’s good that you enjoyed this Tim. That pic of Famke vamping out made me laugh. I’m not that interested in this one to be honest.


  15. r361n4 says :

    Great review. I whole-heartedly agree that this has been one of the most under-rated movies of the year. Sure it’s cheesy and over the top, but it’s just a hell of a lot of fun. Glad to see you standing up for it 🙂


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      Thank you for understanding! I am glad you liked the review as well 😀

      Me and my friend just couldn’t understand the bad reviews after coming out of the cinema. Hope I get more comments like this 😀


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